HIM – Tears On Tape
text: Basak Gunel
album: Tears On Tape
genre: Love Metal
release: 26 April.2013
label: Razor & Tie
There’s a lot more to a record than simple notes, lyrics, and sounds. An impingement piece of music always remains wrapped in emotion. Love, hate, sadness, and joy resound at the greatest decibel imaginable.
At the end of the day, a song’s feeling will carry on as long as the melody will and just as loudly.
HIM holds that philosophy in the highest regard on its eighth full-length studio album ‘Tears On Tape ‘. The platinum-selling Finnish quintet finds rapture in divine rock ‘n’ roll hooks, eerie synths, and elegantly cinematic lyrics. You’ll undoubtedly feel each tear they shed.
‘Tears on Tape‘ welcomes us with the amazing intro song “Unleash The Red.“ This is the perfect intro for the album: I find it melancholic but hopeful at the same time. I am sure it will make the listeners wonder how the album sounds like. The intro also indicates that ‘Tears on Tape’ might not be the heaviest HIM album out there but it surely is colorful and full of surprises.
The second song “All Lips Go Blue” is somehow bonded with the intro and still both songs are different from each other. Unlike the intro “All Lips Go Blue” is a full-on ‘heavy’ HIM song full of amazing riffs and melodies. As a matter of fact, this song can be considered as one of the heaviest songs of the album. Also the writing talent of singer Valo is more in the spotlight: a dynamic combination of heavy, melancholic and as well catchy parts (especially the clapping intermezzo).
The album softens up a little bit with “Love Without Tears” although the heaviness is still there, focus on the lyrics as well. One thing that is easily recognizable are the riffs once again,a good listener will recognize the roots of the band. The same thing can be said about “I Will Be The End of You”
with dedication to their roots and a catchy approach.
With the songs “Tears on Tape” and “Into The Night”, the album becomes pop and rockish. I immediately get that ‘Screamworks’ vibe from the album. Considering that ‘Screamworks’ is my least favorite HIM album, I can’t say it touches me as a fan of the heavy songs. As a matter of fact, the beginning of “Into The Night” reminded me of a typical indie rock song so I was a bit ‘surprised’.
Just when I think I can’t be surprised any more, the last half of the album surprises me more. With “Hearts At War”, the album gets heavier and a bit more melancholic. “Trapped in Autumn” and “Lucifer’s Charole” make the listener wonder what is really going on! These songs are more like ‘transition’ songs which fit perfectly to the album in a really bizarre way. In contrary to these transition songs, “No Love” spices up the album again.
With the song “W.l.s.t.d.” (When love Starts To Die), the darkest, doomiest state is reached. Surely, when I say ‘doomy’, I am not talking about the doomy vibe of the “Venus Doom” album (which happens to be one of my favorite HIM albums), but there is something in this song that makes me want to cry every time I listen to it regardless of my mood.
‘Tears on Tape’ finishes with the perfect outro “Kiss The Void”. Just like the intro “Unleash The Red”, this outro fits perfectly to the album and it shows just how diverse this album is.
Generally ‘Tears on Tape’ is an album full of diversity and surprises. The transition songs definitely add another element to the whole concept of the album and I like how the album is ‘confusing’ in a sweet way; it starts out heavy and softens and then gets heavy again. However, as a fan of the doom-side of HIM, the heavy songs such as “W.l.s.t.d.” or “Hearts at War” are more a trademark of HIM than the pop/rock songs.
One thing that got my attention is Ville Valo’s voice. I think it’s quite obvious that Ville’s voice is not the same as it used to be. I was expecting deeper, melancholic vocals. After listening to the album, I understood that it’s probably not going to happen. Especially, when I read the statements and the interviews that said ‘Tears on Tape’ was going to be the heaviest HIM album, I was quite excited and I expected doomy vocals. So I was a bit disappointed to see that that wasn’t the case.
My favorite from the album is definitely “W.L.S.T.D.”. I think this song still shows that the band is still dedicated to its roots, despite their change of style. It is also the doomiest and the most melancholic song in the album.
I can recommend ‘Tears on Tape’ to any rock music fan out there. Especially, if you like the ‘happy’ and the ‘pop/rock’ side of HIM on Screamworks and Dark Light era, you will love this album. However if you are an old-school fan, liking dark riffs than this album might be to happy or lovey-dovey.
Ville Valo – vocals
Mikko ‘Linde’ Lindstrom – E guitar
Mikko ‘Mige’ Paananen – bass guitar
Mikka ‘Gas’ Karppinen – drums
Janne ‘Burton’ Parttinen – keyboards