I’ve never been a huge fan of this album, as some of you may know. While there are a number of great songs here, most of them are dull and unremarkable. Oddly enough this is HIM at their brightest and softest. A lot of the songs are mellow with bright sounding riffs. Rather than having hard rock inspired tracks, most of them are somber and and even at times relaxing. This doesn’t make the album any better or worse, but it’s a noticeable difference from their previous release. While it’s not their worse records it is far from their best.
As I mentioned before the album starts out really strong with memorable songs, such as the opening track “Vampire Heart.” I love this riff because it sort of sounds like a high pitched version of the Michael Myers theme. Something about it pulls you in to the song and it’s one of the best found here. As usual there are many dark and melancholic images to be found here, such as one of my favorite lines “I am the nightmare waking you up.” Also, Ville just sounds really good here. It’s as if you can hear his presence as a singer grow stronger and stronger on each record and it comes out really well here. Another great song and one of their most well known is “Wings of a Butterfly.”
“Wings of a Butterfly” has one of HIM’s best and most memorable riffs. It grabs you and it’s so damn catchy; it really makes you pay attention to the song. The image of ripping off the wings off a delicate creature is so gruesome and cruel. It takes something beautiful and makes it ugly, something the band does very well with their other songs. Also, this is where we begin to hear the brighter sounding HIM. It’s interesting how the riff sounds very bright, instead of really dirty and hard like most of their music. While I wouldn’t call it their best song, it’s still one of their finest.
“Under the Rose” and “Killing Loneliness” are both good songs for different reasons. What’s interesting about the former is the opening sounds so pretty even when the distortion comes in. This is pretty different for the band. While none of their songs are super brutal not too many of them can be described in this way. Thanks to the music and the lyrical content the track has an overall light and flowing vibe to it. HIM have always been good songwriters, but what makes this song so great is the lyrics paint a story as you’re listening to it. You can visualize everything Ville is saying. “Killing Loneliness” on the other hand, has a great somber piano riff that sets the tone for the entire song. This is another one of their darkly beautiful singles. It’s another one of those tracks you fall in love with.
It’s at this point where the album falls flat. While the songs on the second half of the record aren’t all terrible, most of them are dull, too slow, or just don’t stand out. “Dark Light” has this really bright sounding music that ends up sounding cheesy. If anything it sounds like something a boy band would use for one of their soft, sensitive numbers. While some of the lyrics aren’t bad, the chorus sounds corny and forced, as if Ville doesn’t believe in the song himself. There is a cool guitar solo during the bridge, but it’s not enough to save this track. “Behind the Crimson Door” is not bad, but again the music is so light and bright it’s borderline corny. There are some good lyrics here, such as “To watch the summer killed by fall,” but there’s nothing else remarkable about the track.
As I mentioned before this is where HIM seems to tone down their music on the album. None of their songs have been super hard core, but a lot of the riffs and music are dirty and full of distortion. Here, the riffs are varied with a lot of the music coming off as mellow and soft. While it does work for some of the tracks, it does cause the album to lag a bit. It’s fine that they slowed it down for this record, but what could’ve made the album better is if they included faster songs to keep it moving and to stop it from getting boring.
Overall, the album gets 7/10. While there are some great songs here and some that are their most popular, most of the record grows dull after awhile. The tracks are not remarkable, nothing about them stands out, and some of them sound corny. HIM takes things slower here and while this isn’t bad, but after awhile the slow numbers grow tiring and get boring. If the band would’ve mixed some of their harder material with their softer songs the album would’ve fared better, but unfortunately this effort isn’t their greatest.