"Venus Doom" (Sire; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

You gotta give H.I.M. this much: The band has found a successful sound and they stick to it. "Venus Doom" is obviously a H.I.M. album through and through and, for their apparent legions of fans, that's plenty enough.

For the rest of us, however, this is just another H.I.M. album, featuring the band's trademark "romantic" metal, the occasional driving riff and the intermittent blistering lead. It's very much in the vein of the band's previous CD, "Dark Light," but without a track as engrossing and instantly gratifying as "Wings of a Butterfly."

It's not that "Venus Doom" is unlistenable. In fact, it is quite listenable, although it's not particularly gripping. Fans of the band will thrill to the fact that the band has stuck to their sound and delivered another collection of H.I.M.-style music. Others may give it a listen, shrug their shoulders, and quickly move onto the next CD in their player.

Also available is a Limited Edition containing a book-like CD case and a three bonus track CD.

For more information, check out: http://www.heartagram.com.

"Dark Light" (Sire; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty) returns with twelve tracks of Goth-meets-metal-meets-glam that sometimes punches you smack in the face and sometimes dances lightly across your mind like a butterfly lighting on a flower.

Starting out with the heady "Vampire Heart" and then folding seamlessly into the eerie yet melodic "Wings of a Butterfly" (the CD's first single), "Dark Light" continues to deliver its unique brand of rock'n'roll at an adequate yet ultimately tedious pace. As interesting as the first few tracks seem to be (although they never really get up and kick your ass), the CD quickly wears out its welcome. It's almost like listening to David Bowie's "Cat People" over and over again.

Never really heavy enough (and what would you expect of self-proclaimed "love metal"?) and largely one dimensional, "Dark Light" certainly is a listenable CD, but it never really goes much beyond that.

For more information, check out (and I'm not kidding here): http://www.heartagram.com.

"Dark Light" (Sire; 2005)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I think that H.I.M. should be marketed with the next big vampire movie. You know: Modernize it, add some sexy chick minions and voila! You've got a theme band that will be able to hold Dracula’s cape as he flies past the money trees so H.I.M. can be properly compensated. 

After reading R. Scott’s review above, and then discovering this disc in my collection, I plugged it in and re-read RSB's posted appraisal. Like a stake into the heart of Count D, the boss was right on target. I only want to add my “earterpretation.”

I like the sound that H.I.M. produces. It's Goth for the suburban kids who can’t get away with wearing thick eyeliner at the country club functions, but it’s also a little thin because most of the Goth I’ve heard has a certain allure to it. H.I.M. doesn’t really create any magnetism that draws you in. As I listened I expected more and sometimes during the slower tracks, the vision of a father-and-daughter dance flashed in my mind.

There are some heavy tracks here with "some" being the operative word here. I haven’t heard any of the band's other stuff, but -- if it's in any way related to the whole “love metal” theme explored here - then I probably won't be interested. I will give the band a pass because Finland is ranked as the sixth happiest nation in the world. Look it up. 

If you want a somber and passionate disc to listen to then "Dark Light" will suffice. I want a little more drama from a band labeled "Goth." Something a little bleaker. The last part of the final song, “In The Night Side Of Eden,” actually picks up the pace and produces some eerie vocals with stomping guitar. Now why couldn’t the whole disc go in that direction? 

The best tracks are “Vampire Heart,” “Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly,” and “Drunk On Shadows.”

H.I.M.: Burton, Gas, Linde, Mige & Valo. Valo wrote all the music and lyrics.

For more information, check out http://www.heartagram.com

"Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights" (BMG; 2001)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I know I said I wouldn’t explore any more H.I.M. records but I felt the need to get as close to their origins as possible and see if they used to rock and then got all mellow on us just two records into their act. 

Well, now I’m two in the hole. 

"Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights" is supposed to be alternative rock. While I’ll admit the music is catchy and I found myself tapping my foot and keeping a metronome head bob on a few songs ... I just can’t champion this band to anyone.

If you look at their records, they all hit number one in Finland. The United States just doesn’t jump on their bandwagon and “Dark Metal” was the only disc that we even noted existed. The first song here, “Salt In Our Wounds,” does have potential, but the tracks after that are like the b-sides nobody will ever hear. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone besides teenage Goth girls who even know who this band is, much less what they sing about.

So, as I put my finishing touches on another (yawn) review of H.I.M., I’ll just say that this band is for those who are into the soft rock of pasty white vampire wannabes.

For more information, check out http://www.heartagram.com or http://www.himonline.tv

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2023 14:32:29 -0400 .