HIM - Dark Light
Warner Bros. Records
Melancholic Hard Rock
10 songs (45'26)
Release year: 2005
HIM, Warner Bros. Records
Reviewed by Ben

The wildly popular European rock group HIM have accomplished what many of their peers can only dream of. They have transcended their own outlandish fame and notoriety in their country of Finland and have firmly established themselves in American pop culture. Dark Light (as well as a sampling of their back catalog) is out now on Warner Brothers records and has been pushed immensely by the label. So much so that it debuted in the top twenty on the Billboard charts here in the USA. When listening to this album it isn’t hard to see why this band has struck a chord with American fans. Bam Margera’s influence has no doubt played a deciding role into thrusting HIM into the minds of many an impressionable youth however the music contained herein is a fairly substantial collection of darkly romantic odes to tainted love.

When I first played Dark Light I was taken aback at how accessible and enjoyable the majority of the songs are. There are no complex passages of twisting musical prowess, instead the band employs catchy and memorable melodies to hammer the songs into the minds of listeners. Rip Out The Wings of a Butterfly is the lead off single and is the correct choice for a radio hit. Using a very short verse the strength of this number is concentrated on the infectious chorus and the main guitar melody which is a powerful hook in and of itself. This isn’t to say that the entire album is devoid of any ear catching musicianship despite its laid back tone. Under The Rose is one of the more upbeat songs on the album and has a very old school hard rock solo full of emotion and drive that makes this a standout and adds just the right amount of bite to an otherwise simple song. Ville’s voice should also be given the attention it deserves, his vocal performance on Killing Loneliness, with his terrific falsetto, is utterly fantastic. His smooth delivery is not something that is of a highly technical and altogether challenging nature yet he uses it in such a way that every time I listen to this song I must hit the repeat button. The gloomy atmosphere that permeates the entire album is one of HIM’s trademarks. Lyrically Ville pens tunes about tragic romantic endeavors, lovelorn thoughts and all other sorts of decidedly dreary subjects. I do find this (and some might argue that the subject matter that Ville constantly comes back to is another HIM trademark) to a bit repetitive and overdone. When all ten songs deal with love and / or death it begins to turn into a cliché.

Despite having several terrific tracks Dark Light has its share of sub par songs. Following Behind the Crimson Door the album seems to level off and I am not that impressed by anything else. Perhaps it is because the last handful of songs sound a bit too similar to the ones that I mentioned without the same creative spark, or it could just be that the standout cuts overshadow the rest of the album and make them seem dull by comparison. Nevertheless I can say that I truly enjoy Dark Light. I find this to be a worthwhile listening experience and an album that I regularly come back to when I want a quick fix of some melancholic hard rock to liven up the day.

Killing Songs :
Rip Out The Wings of a Butterfly, Killing Loneliness, Under The Rose, Behind The Crimson Door
Ben quoted 75 / 100
Daniel quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by HIM that we have reviewed:
HIM - Tears On Tape reviewed by Metalette and quoted 84 / 100
HIM - Love Metal reviewed by Jay and quoted 79 / 100
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