HIM - Dark Light
Even though the appetiser "Wings Of A Butterfly" hinted that HIM was onto something big with the forthcoming full-length record, nobody could have expected them to pull this off so well. On their fifth album (not counting the compilation released last year), the five Finnish heroes have set their eyes on the big arenas, with catchy refrains and songs on the verge of pop/rock. However, not at the expense of losing the sombreness that has characterized their career so far. Darkness meets light, and Dark Light is born.
Much of the success must be credited to the producer Tim Palmer, known for his work with a diverse range of artists like Ozzy Osbourne, The Cure and Tears For Fears. He also mixed several tracks on the U2-album All That You Can't Leave Behind, making him perfect for modifying HIM's brittle "love metal" to a more radio-friendly sound. The results are most evident in two of the best tracks, "Vampire Heart" and "Under The Rose". Both songs are crawling with explosive guitar bursts and have an impressive flow to them. Even The Edge couldn't have done it better.
Of course, the true star of the show is Ville Valo. Responsible for both the song writing and the vocals, he is the true essence of HIM, and it's a joy to inform everyone that his voice is sharper than ever on here. On the album's most impressive track, "Killing Loneliness", he sounds like a hybrid between Chris Isaak and David Bowie - absolutely fantastic. He also does a masterful performance on compositions like "Play Dead" and "Behind The Crimson Door", songs that old-school HIM-fans should feel very pleased with.
Dark Light's softest moment arrives on the title track. While it doesn't hold a candle to old favourites like "In Joy And Sorrow", it definitely has the potential of being a hit. Interesting enough, the chorus and the mood of the song reminds quite a bit of the main theme of David Lynch's old cult-show Twin Peaks. This makes sense in a strange kind of way, since HIM:s first steps towards stardom started with the Chris Isaak-cover "Wicked Game", which also plays an important part in the Lynch-masterpiece Wild At Heart. The story comes full circle.
It's stunning that so many addictive melodies can get crammed into one little CD. Even a brooding and slightly introvert piece like "The Face Of God" soon rises to the skies after a few spins. While Dark Light probably is HIM:s ticket to the big league, some reactionaries might argue that the album is something of a sell-out. This is of course pure nonsense, since Dark Light might be their greatest hour yet. A message to the world: get ready for HIM.