When comparing this 2000 release with the Finnish band’s first album there are some noticeable differences. First, this album is not as dark as the previous one. While there are still some dark subjects being referred to in songs, the music and the overall ambiance of the album feels nothing like Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666. But this doesn’t mean that Razorblade Romance is a bad album. There are some great tracks here that would go on to become some of HIM’s most recognizable songs.
This record opens with the track “Your Sweet 666.” That’s right, the same song from their first record. There are differences between the two versions. There seems to be more emphasis on the percussion and the guitar on this edition. The music in general on this track sounds more polished than the previous version. It still has that great opening riff which makes the song so memorable, but there’s something slightly different about it. The singing here is also different. It doesn’t sound as strong as the original track. In fact his singing is a bit higher and it doesn’t seem to be fitting the song at all. Personally, I like the original version. It has a haunting effect and the music feels more powerful.
One of HIM’s most popular songs is found on this album: “Join Me in Death.” It starts off with this pretty, tinkling riff provided by the piano before the guitars and drums kick in. Ville’s singing is great here as well. He mostly sings in a hushed tone for most of the track and the way he’s singing makes it sound like a cryptic lullaby. Despite the music being pretty, the song itself is quite dark with it being about a Romeo and Juliet doomed romance.
Unlike the first album there aren’t too many standout tracks here. Part of this could be due to the fact that the band re-released three songs from the 1997 album: the opening track, the “Wicked Games” cover, and “Sigillum Diaboli.” I’m not really sure why they felt the need to do this. Was it the record company? Were they trying to fill out the album? With the new version of “Wicked Games” not much has changed aside from the fact that the guitar playing seems more pronounced.
The other track “Sigillum Diabloi” is almost an entirely different song. The lyrics are the same, but they are not sung in the same way, the music is different, and song no longer has that dark feeling to it. This version is much faster and more upbeat than the previous version. The guitar playing here is still great with a speeding riff at the beginning of the song and a racing guitar solo. It’s as if they re-did the track to make it mainstream friendly, even though it was not one of their singles.
The best track on the album is probably “Razorblade Romance.” Everything about this song makes you take notice of it. The song has this sexy, seductive mood to it, which fits the subject of the song perfectly. Ville sounds as if he’s trying to seduce the listener while Lind (the guitarist) provides the sexy riff to complete the mood. Another song that captures the creepy mood of the first album is “Gone with the Sin.” It’s a slow, somber track and not only does the singing make it creepy, but the subject of the song is pretty weird too. It sounds like a love song to a dead girl. As for the other songs, it’s not that they’re bad. In fact all of the songs are pretty good. They just don’t grab your attention in the same way as the ones on the previous album did. Some can even be considered cheesy (“Heaven Tonite”). Also, the music on the previous record seemed a bit better and was varied. Here, you can tell that a guitar is playing, but you can’t hear a rhythm or style in the playing. Rather, you hear a bunch of distorted noise.
Just as with the first album, this album has a theme running through it though it may be more subtle. There are constant references to love and death in all of the songs here. But the way it’s presented makes it seem that message of the album is love is death or love leads to death. A lot of the songs mention loving the subjects misery, death, and despair. There’s even a song called “Death’s in Love with Us.” So while the darkness may not be as prevalent on this album, this theme shows that HIM has not abandoned their previous influences altogether.
Overall, I give the album 8/10. It’s not as dark as their first record, but there are still some dark subjects at play here. While there are not many standout tracks on this album, the songs are still pretty good and you could easily leave on this album without rushing to skip a song. Ville’s vocals are still fantastic and the guitar playing is great as well. It may not have the band’s best songs, but there are tracks here that are now consider HIM classics.