Review Summary: Symphonic pop metal from Finland. It should be a crime to be this catchy.
Lovex is a popular rock band emerging from Finland in 2001. They quickly picked up steam in 2005 with the singles Guardian Angel and Bleeding from their debut album, Divine Insanity. The album went gold in Finland as well as receiving a lot of positive press from Germany. It seems Lovex are poised to be the next big thing to hit the American markets after the great commercial success that HIM and The 69 Eyes have seen. Lovex share a similarity with both of these bands by also implementing a prominent gothic edge into their music. However, Lovex’s music is far more upbeat and pedal to the metal than either of those groups. I’m not the right person to categorize bands correctly but I could summarize Lovex as symphonic pop metal.
“Pretend Or Surrender” is Lovex’s second major release and has a more than reasonable chance to garner a lot of attention from the American audience. Lovex has all the tools to become a huge hit in America, including fancy haircuts equivalent to modern day glam rock and arena packing choruses. Lovex has a knack for creating commercial songs that are as aggressive as they are catchy. I’m not saying Lovex are a completely original band but they do take a few steps to distance themselves from the crowd. They have the huge booming choruses but incorporate epic string work and raging guitars with the soaring vocals of Theon to set themselves apart from their counterparts. This record has plenty of hooks and will most likely sell a lot of albums with just the single alone. “Take A Shot” the first single and also my favorite song on the album opens up with a roaring synth line and shouted vocals before bursting out of the gate with heavy down tuned riffing. The song picks up after a mellow verse into a chorus so big that it should be illegal. Big choruses seem to be the selling point as the song writing gets unsurprisingly stale throughout the album. The problem is that each song’s structure is predictable. Aggressive intro to smooth verse paving way to a massive chorus and repeat. For the most part it works but the music tends to drag a little bit in the middle of the album.
Theon is a pretty good vocalist that can shift from a low tone to being aggressive and still sound great. His Finnish accent adds a unique take on the vocal duties although there are points when Theon’s voice gets too whiny for my tastes. I wasn’t expecting too much with the lyrics for a band that will sell out theaters rather quickly in Europe. So unsurprisingly enough, the lyrics deal with simple topics such as heartbreak. The guitar work isn’t really anything special but Sin'Amor and Sammy pull off a lot of interesting riffs and melodies. The metal edge to the music is supplemented by crunchy grooves and ripping hair metal inspired solos which there are plenty to be found. These guys might not show much skill or originality with their instruments but sometimes all it takes is simplicity to make a good song. The high point for me on “Pretend Or Surrender” would be the keyboardist, Christian. He adds a new layer of skin to the one dimensional tone of Lovex with haunting piano melodies and soaring orchestration. “If She’s Near” the album’s opener would be a great example of this. Drumming is quite basic for the music and nothing extraordinary enough to talk about. Julian does however hold the beat well on his kit. The bass is pretty low in the mixing but still present and for the most part uninteresting.
Although “Pretend Or Surrender’ is a rather predictable rock record designed to sell records, this album is good for what it is. A slickly produced pop album showing some signs of originality without taking too many risks. There are plenty of great tracks and a couple duds but I think this is worth checking out if you just want some simple chill music. This album was quite the surprise for me and fans of kvlt black metal need to check this out. I think I’ll take a trip soon to Finland, catch these guys live, and mack on a Finnish girl.
Take A Shot
If She’s Near