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HIM - Tears On Tape (2013) - Review

Band: HIM
Album title: Tears On Tape
Release date: 26 April 2013
Label: Razor & Tie

Tracklisting:
01. Unleash The Red
02. All Lips Go Blue
03. Love Without Tears
04. I Will Be The End Of You
05. Tears On Tape
06. Into The Night
07. Hearts At War
08. Trapped In Autumn
09. No Love
10. Drawn & Quartered
11. Lucifers Chorale
12. When Love Starts To Die
13. Kiss The Void
14. The Kiss Of Dawn [bonus]
15. Buried Alive By Love [bonus]

HIM’s whole musical path will probably forever be sealed down by their two earliest albums. First there was the dark, passionate and atmospheric debut Greatest Lovesongs vol. 666. And then came its successor, Razorblade Romance, which shot HIM to the stars, with edgy, romantic and heart-breaking melodies. It’s no news that HIM decided to name their mixture of rock, pop and metal with lyrical themes that revolve around love, despair, heartache, death and misery as love metal. And they have stayed true to that ever since their beginning, only with their sound becoming softer and more radio friendly over the years.

Tears On Tape is, however, nothing exceptional, but still a solid album. It offers 15 tracks, which form a combination of sounds recognizable to listener, since it’s an odyssey through HIM’ discography by bits and pieces. It’s most notable feature is, as always, Ville Valo’s remarkable, deep and extremely passionate voice. There is no doubt that Valo has always been and still is an extraordinary vocalist with great charisma and his ability to pour that energy into his songs is still very much alive. The sound on the album is also distinguished by the well-known guitar shredding, accompanied by soft keyboard melodies that combine into pleasant, eerie and catchy melodies.

This album gives the listener a mixed feeling; you hear a bit of everything here and there. Some darker moments that resemble to Razorblade Romance, for instance "No Love". Some hold the sound that is closer to Venus Doom. There are also a few MTV friendly tracks, such as the lead single, "Tears On Tape" and "Drawn & Quartered" and "All Lips Go Blue". "When Love Starts To Die" slows down the beat and brings out the passion. "I Will Be The End Of You" and "Hearts At War" are carried by a catchy lead riff and most resemble to HIM’s latest works.

Tears on Tape is a step forward from their 2010’s work, Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice, which was the band’s most inexpressive and dull work. There are also some instrumentals on the album and the bonus CD offers some older HIM tracks with different sound, so that makes it a treat for the fans. For the rest, it’s a catchy, romantic rock album that, with the exception of a few songs, may get a bit boring after a few spins.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 7/10

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Band: Neurotech
Album title: Stigma
Release date: 7 June 2015
Label: Self-Released

Playing softly with intertwining so many various styles, building on a solid foundation of cyber metal and enhancing with so many different layers, most notable feature of Stigma is its strong cinematic approach. The blasting drums are still present, covered with a dense layer of electronic effects and Wulf's vocoded vocals. But what really makes it so significant and pushes it further, is the grandeur approach and stupendous orchestrations, which flow more in the vein of film score music of Hans Zimmer, than symphonic metal, and are vibrating throughout the entire album. However, what spices up the deal are the numerous, eloquent insertions of so many different stylistic elements into the game. Stigma is yet another album, Wulf can only feel pride and joy of. What from a certain point of view may seem like it's only Infra Versus Ultra part 2, when realizing its potent nature, this album does open up new dimensions in the realms of Neuortech. On one side it is so staggeringly poetic, romantic and thought-provoking, on the other well as nerve striking, energetic and even demonic. If you are one of those Neurotech fans, who still craves and wishes for an Antagonist sequel, leave your hopes behind. But if you are here to follow the further evolution of its music, Stigma is simply an album you must embrace.

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