HIM: XX – Two Decades of Love Metal

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Review by Jack Arkell


It is difficult to believe that Finnish metal outfit HIM have been knocking around for 20 years now. In that time, it is pretty safe to say that their career has been patchy at best. For every solid album such as 1999’s ‘Razorblade Romance’ or 2003’s ‘Love Metal’, there has been a failure at revival; ‘Venus Doom’ and ‘Screamworks…’ spring to mind immediately.

But it is beyond question that despite line up changes and inconsistent form in and out of the studio, HIM have served up a number of excellent singles over the years. Press play on ‘Buried Alive By Love’, ‘Right Here in My Arms’ or ‘Poison Girl’ and you’ll remember just how good this band can be.

Even the more recent tracks like ‘Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly’ and ‘Killing Loneliness’ are substantial enough for inclusion on any greatest hits compilation without too many arguments.

Album opener ‘Strange World’ is the only ‘new’ song here, the inverted commas representing the fact that even this is a cover version. Ke’s 1995 single is brought back to life with HIM’s trademark dark sound, but it just feels slightly throwaway, and in no way a substitute for a piece of new material.

If based on the quality of the songs alone, this career retrospective would receive a very strong mark. But, offering little previously unreleased material, along with the fact that the band released a similar ‘best of’ package to commemorate their first decade in action, there is little to be excited about unless you’re a complete newcomer to the Fins.

HIM will return in 2013 with a new studio album titled ‘Tears on Tape’, and it may be wise to keep hold of your money until then. But if you want to swat up on the band’s back catalogue in preparation for their set at Download Festival 2013, you could do a lot worse than this.

6 out of 10

Tracklisting:HIM

1. Strange World
2. Join Me
3. Heartkiller
4. Wings Of A Butterfly
5. The Kiss Of Dawn (Radio Edit)
6. The Funeral Of Hearts (Radio Edit)
7. Right Here In My Arms (Radio Edit)
8. Pretending
9. Buried Alive By Love (Radio Edit)
10. Gone With The Sin
11. Your Sweet 666
12. The Sacrament (Radio Edit)
13. Wicked Game
14. Killing Loneliness
15. Bleed Well (Radio Edit)
16. In Joy And Sorrow (Radio Edit)
17. Poison Girl
18. Scared To Death
19. When Love And Death Embrace (Radio Edit)
20. Heartache Every Moment