4 out of 5 stars
There is a certain excitement that comes along with discovering a new direction of music. Sometimes it’s a band that’s already established in your heart as an example of true musicianship. With the first crunching guitar riffs, HIM’s newest record Venus Doom proves to be a worthy follow up of their previous works.
The lyrical poetry of lead singer Ville Valo never ceases to amaze in it’s soft, depressive tone. A voice that can go from raging wail to deep baritone can take the simplest back beat into a whirlwind of emotions. The title track screams into full force, then dies down at each appropriate time to accent Valo’s vocals perfectly.
Although some will complain about the band’s obvious turn into a less metal edge, Venus Doom bridges the gap between Darklight and the Razorblade Romance days. Each song blends into the next so effortlessly it’s tough to decipher where one song ends and the other begins. While this might seem like a boring concept, every song possesses a definite distinction. Basically, no song is alike. Yet, the tracks manage to hold your attention until the very end. Then comes the 10 minute story of “Sleepwalking Past Hope”, a sweet piano introduction that rips into a weeping lyrical dream. For those with a soft spot for the raw and acoustic will appreciate “Song or Suicide”, a song that quickly became my favourite. This short track(a mere 1:10 long) opens with a brooding harmony backed by nothing but acoustic guitar. One would believe it was something recorded in one take, the musicians settled on the floor with candles in the background.
Much of Venus Doom is a pleasure for fans of pure guitar/bass driven beats with a hint of keyboards and smooth drums. These Finnish rockers deliver both the head-splitting rage and the aura of a band growing into their own comfort zone. HIM has never been the type of guys to worry about record sales or a selling image. It’s only fair to warn that all but one of the tracks on Venus Doom average 5 minutes long, but have no fear! You will be too intrigued to notice. And on a side note, it’s a fabulous record for an early morning drive to work.