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For the most part Tears On Tape is a predictable progression, with clichéd hooks being overused throughout tracks. The disappointing aspect for me is that the intro’s to most tracks are bloody great, only to morph into a completely different beast once the songs are underway. If musically they would have continued each song with the theme of the intro’s this would be a much better release. A good example of this musical schizophrenia can be best heard on tracks such as “Into The Night” – the intro has balls, not totally original but fresh enough to make you think the song is solid. Rather, what follows is a lightweight pop-rock track with badly overlaid synth that appears to stifle everything else.
Singer/frontman Ville Valo has mentioned before that the band is more famous for their ‘Heartagram’ than their music, and this is with good reason. The band are hard to squeeze into one particular genre, many have been floated – gothic rock, alternative, metal – apart from the diehard fan base I don’t think classification helps.
Is there an audience out there for HIM, I believe so, I don’t know where, but they are out there and probably loving everything about this album. But despite wanting to find the best in this album I can only pull out 1 track that feels untainted by art school filthery. W.L.S.T.D. is the best track on the album, consistent throughout, losing that pop edge. It must be noted though that there is a repeating part from the keys (also the intro), I’m sure this was “inspired” by a mix of the early 80’s Madonna song, ‘Live To Tell’ and Wilson Phillips’ 2009 classic – “Hold On”, which just goes to show that even at their most original, they aren’t.
Maybe this review is a bit harsh, every band has their merits and fanbase but I'm afraid HIM just don't float my boat, rather they sink it like an enemy submarine firing missiles through the icy depths of the ocean. HIM - You Sunk My Battleship! Have a generous 3/10.