HIM
Tears On Tape


3.0
good

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 29th, 2013 | 28 replies | 7,068 views


Release Date: 04/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Love Metal redux.

HIM are a band you can't exactly pin into a corner, as they were always soft for metal purists and a bit heavy for mainstream rock radio. Still, since their debut 16 years ago, they have always tried to please both parties and if one takes a careful look at their discography, a certain soft & heavy pattern can be applied to their past decade output. Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights is undeniably their most commercial offering and took several stabs from the hardcore fans. Love Metal, on the other hand, with its' heavier and more complex structures, put them back on track, enlarging their fan base. Dark Light and Venus Doom share the same story, only on a larger scale, as they became a worldwide force after "Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly" became a big hit in 2005. So, since their previous output, Screamworks, was another mainstream-oriented affair, Tears On Tape was somehow expected to be a harsher offering, especially after signing to a smaller record label, Razor & Tie, allowing them full control over the songs.

Unfortunately, most probably in fear of a commercial flop, HIM decided not to return with Venus Doom part two, opting again for a radio-friendly sound instead. They try to balance the melodic riffs with the harder hitting ones, turning Tears To Tape more into Love Metal redux and hoping it will appease everyone. This approach works well for songs like "Hearts At War" or "No Love", which have some cool, powerful leads, but at the end of the day it's clear that the record is plain lazy. Even when clocking at only 41 minutes, the album is peppered with four interludes. Thus, the listener's left with 34 minutes of proper tunes that fail to offer a full experience like their previous efforts give.

Leaving the two interludes aside, "Unleash The Red" and "Kiss The Void", the two songs that bookend Tears On Tape are actually worth checking out. "All Lips Go Blue" and "W.L.S.T.D.", both have the same atmosphere and sound that made Venus Doom arguably their best material. The former boasts one of HIM's most brutal riffs yet and the vocal delivery is really solid, especially the infectious chorus. On the other hand, "W.L.S.T.D." (which stands for When Love Starts To Die), is a proper closer akin to "Cyanide Sun", having a slower, doom-tinged feel accompanied by a deep baritone voice. However, the remaining seven tracks share the same worn formulas HIM kept throughout their career, the heavy intro/chorus & soft verses or straightforward mellow. They have never truly tried to expand their horizons, only juggling sideways and this thing slowly turned into a curse. Whether you listen to their debut, Greatest Love Songs, Vol. 666, Dark Light or Tears On Tape, one can't help but feel the same approach with varied distortion levels. Front man Ville Valo hasn't changed a bit in almost 20 years and even if his gifted voice is still the same charismatic and instantly recognizable croon, it's hard not to ask yourself why are they unwilling to experiment. Yes, it is hard sometimes to stop clinging on the tricks that brought you a huge success, but at this point there's a desperate need of resurgence before starting to rely solely on past gems and churning albums only to keep fans interested.

To conclude, Tears On Tape feels divided into an EP's worth of strong material and a lazy half that are mostly average songs that HIM could churn in their sleep. Also, the cohesion even Screamworks shared is missing because of the irrelevant interludes. It's deceiving because the band proved they are capable to create better tunes (see “Sleepwalking Past Hope” off Venus Doom) yet they stick to the same format. At best, fans will rejoice, but the album won't be heralded as a career highlight anytime soon.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I gave this a 3 because I really dig the highlights and for nostalgia, I guess. However, I am disappointed of this.

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

breakingthefragile
April 29th 2013



2943 Comments


This is honestly one of those albums where I just look at it without even hearing a
song and think to myself "yeah, that's most likely going to be a 3." My friend LOVES
this group, and even he isn't crazy about the few songs he's heard.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I basically grew up with HIM, but this is average. It feels as if they reached the peak and decided it's enough, so now it's autopilot mode.

Gyromania
April 29th 2013



15200 Comments


lol this band

Stratisfaction666
April 29th 2013



25 Comments


Gyromania is the be all end all of music critique everybody! Lol this band indeed!! YEAH -__-

Gyromania
April 29th 2013



15200 Comments


i'm sorry but their stuff is so trite and cliche, i feel like their target demographic has to be adolescent females

Stratisfaction666
April 29th 2013



25 Comments


Yeah I suppose you're right, I honestly haven't listened to this band since I was a massive fan when I was like 13. I was automatically defensive.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Except those adolescent females are 30 now or listening to dubstep.

LilLioness
April 29th 2013



2496 Comments


@Gyromania You know that isn't fair. :P

However, I have to say that I have never really heard anything by this group that I have dug. That one music video early in their career where they are on that iceburg or something, total yum. But yeah, I doubt I will check this out.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If you decide to check out some of their material, try Venus Doom or Love Metal. Those are still cool even if you're not a 16-year old.

PumpBoffBag
April 29th 2013



327 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

still not got around to listening to this yet, probs will tomorrow. Good review

lostforwords
April 29th 2013



443 Comments


Review is really good, band is really bad.
And the more I think about it the more I believe "Tears on Tape" must be the most ridiculous album title ever

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys. Yeah, it's arguably their worst album title.

EaglesBecomeVultures
April 29th 2013



5192 Comments


Gyromania is the be all end all of music critique everybody! Lol this band indeed!! YEAH -__-

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

Cryio
April 29th 2013



96 Comments


I hate HIM with a passion. I find this utterly and completely useless. There is nothing of worth in their whole career.

Parallels
April 30th 2013



6640 Comments


Not the best site to post a HIM review.

Gyromania
April 30th 2013



15200 Comments


Those are still cool even if you're not a 16-year old.

nope

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, there's a lot of hate towards HIM here, but I don't care. They are better than some bands that get too much hype here I guess.

Gyromania
April 30th 2013



15200 Comments


just the worst

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013



3335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry man, I still dig Venus Doom once in a while, even though they are past their prime.



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