It’s been a long time since anything from HIM piqued my interest. I haven’t bought anything since 2006 because what I did hear seemed to lack any real bite. One of the strengths of this band is lead singer/songwriter Ville Valo’s putting his emotions out there, painting a picture for all the world to see/hear, and I felt that was missing. Until now. Sort of.
Tears On Tape is HIM going for a more “simple” sound, and as a result it sounds like something’s missing. “All Lips Go Blue” , first single and opening track, is a fine way to start things off, and “Love Without Tears” is another one that could have been an opener, too. “I Will Be The End Of You” has arguably the best riffs on the record, but even those guitars feel watered down.
There’s no big EVENT song, like “Buried Alive By Love” off of 2003’s Love Metal, or “Wings Of A Butterfly” from 2005’s Dark Light. The only song that comes close is “No Love”, which actually sounds like it came from those 2005 sessions, and is the best one on the album. “Drawn & Quartered”, “Into the Night”, and the title track are dead on arrival, but the last full song “W.L.S.T.D.” manages to give us a taste of the HIM of old, with it’s murky, gothic feel and cries of anguish toward the end.
The decision to have not one, not two, but FOUR instrumentals/interludes is a puzzling one, and I don’t think they help the listener get the ambiance that the band is going for. We actually wind up with only 9 new songs, which wouldn’t be an issue if they were all very good. Not the case here.
Overall, I think this record is a swing and a miss, save for a few bright spots. Great idea, but just poorly executed.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Love Without Tears”, “I Will Be the End Of You”, “No Love”, “W.L.S.T.D.”