Through out Bam Margera’s MTV series Viva La Bam, he promoted music as much as he did his own absurd stunts. Bands like CKY, Gnarkill, Bloodhound Gang, and H.I.M. became tied to Margera’s accident-prone band of misfits. The label applied to him seemed a little unfair; the Finnish band had obtained a good amount of success in their homeland and Europe before Margera co-opted them. The band’s success, however, became tied to Margera so as his star faded so did H.I.M.’s in the United States. None of their album’s since 2005’s Dark Light have obtained gold status but that has not deterred them from releasing albums and touring, stateside. Their eighth studio album Tears on Tape was released at the end of April.
Their fading star in the US does not quite make sense; if anything the band has gotten better over since Dark Light. Tears on Tape kicks off with “All Lips Go Blue.” The track starts off with a monster guitar riff and piano tastefully laid over it before breaking down to acoustic guitars and Ville Valo’s signature crooning. Despite being a song about death taking the love of his life, Valo manages to pen a catchy chorus.
This ends up being the formula for much of the album: monster opening guitar riff, dark lyrical content, and catchy chorus. The formula does get tweaked occasionally. The lead single in Europe, “Tear on Tape” replaces the lead guitar riff with a monster piano riff. The track also contains the poppiest chorus of the band’s career and that’s not necessarily a good thing. It sounds like something the Cure might have done in the 80s. “Drawn and Quartered” opens with acoustic guitar arpeggios and what sounds like xylophone. The track blooms slowly but never gets to the volume level of typical H.I.M. output. Needless to say, it feels like the weakest track on the album.
Besides those two blips, Tears on Tape really does deliver H.I.M. at their best. For fans of goth metal, this album delivers the kind of riffs and subject matter you crave. Regular pop rock fans may find the band’s choruses and energy appealing as well. A little bit for everybody on Tears on Tape.