HIM - 'Razorblade
by Mr. Huh?
Five Star: A look at albums
that are so good that they impress even the most cynical of critics. Very
few albums are superior enough to obtain a five star rating but occasionally
a band slips through the river of mediocrity that is the modern music industry
and they produce an album that restores our faith in the future of rock!
This series is a look at such albums.
You ever listen to a CD that made you dance
around the apartment air-guitaring, even though you knew that though two
of your roommates had gone away for the weekend, your third one was in
his room with his girlfriend, early in the morning, having made some moaning
sounds with her when you first started listening to the CD, and if they
came out and spotted you, you'd merely hand them the album and say to them
both, "You've gotta hear this!"
Over the last decade, many have noticed
how Goth music seemed to go from a sad, yet bittersweet melancholy into
some clown licking the inner posterior of hermaphrodites, tap-dancing on
Hitler moustaches, and sticking their penis into mashed potatoes in order
to "liberate people from the lies they've been told" (kudos to Deadsun
for the brilliant Marilyn Manson parodies) as their fans consider themselves
tr00 individuals for dressing up in black and hating life because their
hero told them to. For those tired of the "I'm more goth than you
because I hate my grandparents as well as my parents" crowd, you might
want to give HIM's 'Razorblade Romance' album a try.
Though perfectly a beautiful, heart-wrenching
tragedy of early Goth, HIM draws more from traditional Metal rather than
the Punk influences of early Goth music. The result is a perfectly
produced album where drums keep excellent beat, piano is used on more slower-tempo
songs, guitar solos are inserted only where necessary so as to mark either
the climax or just before the climax on more heart-pounding songs, and
frontman Valo's lush vocals with excellent articulation.
The album starts hard with "Your Sweet
Six Six Six" that calms down briefly for the verse lines, yet gets very
doomy with the chorus. Though the title and chorus might make it
seem sinister, it's more like both a celebration and cry against that damnable
masochistic love that one can't help but feel for an abusive, manipulative
"Poison Girl" is a confession of a blind,
self-destructive kind of lust disguised as tragic love. Perfect backing
vocals to aid the chorus warns of just how powerful love can be at times,
but more lustful than loving.
"Join Me In Death" is quite simply the
theme song to Romeo and Juliet. The piano provides a great line of
tones that make the chorus seem more hopeful than tragic.
"Right Here In My Arms" is a celebration
of togetherness and unity even in the midst of individual conflicts and
tragedies with a rough, static-like guitar solo, who's chorus provides
a danceable beat even.
"Bury Me Deep Inside Your Heart" is a
song of mourning for a soon-to-be departed loved one. Metallic, echoing
piano lines provide an almost tear-stained backdrop. Remember, our
loved ones aren't dead so long as we keep them in our heart.
HIM's cover of the Chris Isaak classic
song, "Wicked Game" reverberates along walls, creates echoes, and layers
of sounds of charging guitar riffs, Valo's soprano (or is it tenor?) that
would do Chris Isaak proud, pounding drums, backing vocals demanding "This
world is only going to break your heart", and two, not one, but two soaring
guitar solos at different points, interweaving through everything else.
I would say that this cover ranks right up there with the all-time classic
covers including Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower", Soft Cell's
"Tainted Love", and most recently, Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and Gary Jules'
"I Love You (Prelude to Trajedy)" is just
what it implies. Starting off as a whisper, it explodes into a stampeding
letter of the pains of further increasingly unrequited love. The
backing vocals are at their loudest and doomiest here.
"Gone With The Sin" is a slower-paced,
lush, acoustic track that's actually rather disturbing and borders on necrophilia
almost. Or it could just be a final "I love you so much" before a
lover dies and hoping that they rest in peace. A short solo appears
here that gives the song a slight techno feel, but doesn't at all feel
out of place.
"Razorblade Kiss" perfectly captures the
guilty pleasures that love can lead us to, reminding us that love has no
boundaries. A guitar solo leads up to a sudden repose for the confession
of deep, passionate love before going back towards the metallic highway,
as it ends with a long, consistent growl almost.
"Resurrection" is almost the summary of
a fantasy tale about a man bringing a woman back from death with the power
of his love. A lifting, moving tale/song of the kind of love that
not even death can tame. This song leads without stopping into...
"Death Is In Love With Us". A power-packed
punch and run away from the clutches of the Reaper's greed itself for the
pure love existing between two souls. This song never relents in
its struggle to warn of and escape from that damn Reaper. Full-on
"Heaven Tonight" brings it down with heavenly
backing vocals, but still a hard edge in the instrumentals. It's
heavy, yet romantic. Not misery-invoking, doomy, or tragic.
Just romantic. And HEAVY!
"Sigillum Diaboli" is harder and angrier
with some chugging riffs behind razor-wired ones. A yell against
abusive treatment that bespokes having been wronged immensely.
The final track, "One Last Time" is just
a heavenly tribute to Love itself. No misery, no anger, no fear,
no abuse, no regrets, just love itself and the affirmation of it before
Love is the most universal thing there
is and as a result is the hardest thing to write about without being cheesy.
HIM have brilliantly and profoundly created a masterpiece fusing Goth and
Metal with deeply introspective observations covering misery, hope, rage,
forgiveness, and passion as they all take place as different facets of
this thing we call love, so more complex than many a teen pop star makes
it out to be.
HIM's 'Razorblade Romance' is a great Valentine's
Day addition also. Especially for poor schlubs like me who don't
have anyone to share it with. Enjoy!
Your Sweet Six Six Six
Join Me In Death
Right Here In My Arms
Bury Me Deep Inside Your Heart
I Love You
Gone With The Sin
Death Is In Love With Us
One Last Time
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