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VV - Gothica Fennica Vol.1 [EP] - (2020) - Review

Band: VV
Album: Gothica Fennica Vol.1 [EP]
Release date:  20 March 2020
Label: Heartagram LTD
Genre: Suomi Rock, Love Metal

Tracklist:
01. Salute The Sanguine
02. Run Away From The Sun
03. Saturnine Saturnalia

It was 2017 when our sore and aching souls buried HIM, Finland’s first and only self-proclaimed love metallers and with no warning, out of nowhere, something that looks strangely alike heartagram peeked on the surface. Could it be? Do I dare to even check it out I was asking myself and well, I did. Needless to say, as a long-time ardent devotee, I buried HIM properly, feeling they made the best possible decision. Forget the fangirls crying over it, because that was an immature and uncessecary reaction to display. HIM has been in a decline musically, lyrically and what better thing to do is to preserve friendship, sanity, love for music and just cease to exist before burning to the ground? I never buried Mr. Valo because it seemed absurd to me that such incredibly talented man, a multi-instrumentalist, owner of one of the best voices on the world, composer, lyricist and hopeless romantic would call it quits. It is obvious at the moment he did not and without any big pomp and media coverage he just released his EP Gothica Fennica Vol.1, a lush blend of aching lyrics and sombre, melancholic, yet melodic rock tunes.

It would be delusional to think Gothica Fennica Vol.1 would sound very much different to HIM's sound of the past decade and well, especially since Ville has stated numerous times, he has around 15 unfinished HIM songs. The VV named solo project must sound like HIM, since Valo was the main composer of the band and therefore it's no surprise the EP will mostly fit the taste of HIM fans. Brief, with merely three tracks, EP opens up with "Salute The Sanguine", a tune which opens up with a sound akin to that of Dark Light era; catchy, smooth, with guitar lines and keyboard creating melodies, which sound so knowingly love metallish. As it comes to vocals itself, I have never hid the fact Ville Valo is my favourite vocalist and it's just still so thrilling to hear his vocal chords timber, because not only of his tremendous vocal, but as his singing style has changed so profoundly over the years. It you weren't swept of your feet with MGT's version of "Knowing Me, Knowing You", where he did the vocals, and displayed his velvet, mature side, then I don't know how to portray this more vividly to you, as it is so obvious how much he evolved from the time he heartbrokenly screamed and whispered and cried through melodies on HIM's early works. Moving on, the second track "Run Away From The Sun" flows more in the vein of soundscapes which we witnessed on Venus Doom, in my opinion hugely underrated HIM album, which displayed HIM’s most mature and well-executed songs. Even though that era was filled with darkness and album’s sound was full of edge, it had its light and bright moments and "Run Away From The Sun" would fit right alongside them. Heartsore and crestfallen, the short EP ends with "Saturnine Saturnalia", the absolute highlight of Gothica Fennica Vol.1, which may feel a bit mellow at the first glimpse, but its tempo and atmosphere gradually thickens and becomes more dense and intense and profound and totally reaches an atmospheric and emotional climax at the end, mostly (again) due to Valo's amazing vocal abilities alongside ambient pallete of sounds in the background.

I know this might read as a devotee, pouring her heart out (because she can), but it feels so heart-warming and home-like to hear Ville Valo's music coming to life again - it's like coming home after a long time on the road... And yet, this is only the beginning. What will come out of it – only time will tell. Let us just wait and hope for the king of shattered hearts, tears and lust to show us what he’s got up his sleeve and – or maybe - finish what was supposed to be HIM, when they called it quits.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 7/10

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