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Dark Light

3.9 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 3, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After conquering the rest of the world with chart-topping albums and sold-out tours, Finland's HIM (His Infernal Majesty) makes its U.S. debut with Dark Light. A Scandinavian rock icon, HIM enjoys more than a mere buzz overseas. It's a frenzy. Haunting, gothic, rocking, beautiful and melodic-produced by Tim Palmer (Robert Plant, U2) with the band recording for the first time in the U.S.-Dark Light opens the eyes of America to HIM. This 10-song collection is classic HIM: haunting, gothic, rocking, beautiful, melodic, and an album that can only come from Valo and his mates. London. 2005.

Finland’s His Infernal Majesty (H.I.M.) has managed to release a solid, if not wholly overwhelming album. Listening to vocalist Ville Valo work his magic on the title tune, where he bridges the distance between Bono and Bowie, you almost believe you’re listening to one of the great voices, maybe even great bands, of the age. The sharp, hook-laden tunes such as "Killing Loneliness," "Vampire Heart" and "Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly" only seem to confirm that initial spark of discovery. However, the brilliance evident at the beginning barely stretches to the halfway mark. "The Face Of God" and "Drunk On Shadows" are little more than hooks around which other things happen rather than the promising, fully realized material found at the album’s start. That said, Dark Light ultimately proves an album worth owning even if it’s just to hear Valo work his unmistakable magic from end to end. --Jedd Beaudoin

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Face of God
  2. Rip Out the Wings of A Butterfly
  3. Killing Loneliness
  4. Behind the Crimson Door
  5. Dark Light
  6. Under the Rose
  7. Vampire Heart
  8. Play Dead
  9. Drunk on Shadows
  10. In the Night-Side of Eden

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sire / London/Rhino
  • ASIN: B000ATT2QO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,793 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I would not necessarily classify the group "His Infernal Majesty", a.k.a. "H.I.M.", as heavy metal, but they certainly qualify as hard rock. Originating in the Scandinavian country of Finland in 1995, "H.I.M." was inspired by the gothic metal band "Dimmu Borgir" from the neighboring country of Sweden. What gives the five-man band "H.I.M." its unique sound are the compelling vocals by the band's front man Ville Valo, as well as the instruments played by its four other members: Migé Amour (bass), Lily Lazer (guitar), Gas Lipstick (drums), and Emerson Burton (keyboards).

The band's album "Dark Light" is not the band's first album, but is the band's official debut album in the U.S. The band's previously-released albums (which were reissued in the U.S. earlier in 2005) include its 1997 debut "Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666", the 2000 "Razorblade Romance", the 2001 "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Hightlights" and the 2003 "Love Metal".

"Dark Light" is somewhat different from the band's earlier albums, which has left some long-time fans disappointed; but the album's potential for a broader appeal is certainly noteworthy and I personally regard it to be an excellent album. Criticisms of "Dark Light" due to Ville's apparently changed hairstyle or because someone previously had a heartogram tattooed on themselves (a purely personal choice) as some reviewers have commented say nothing about the actual songs on the album and thus, are completely without merit and useless. My ratings (out of 5 stars) for each of the album's 10 songs follow:

1. "Vampire Heart" (5). Dark undertones punctuate this song's otherwise seemingly cheerful sound that has an interesting mix of guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals that keep it on the edge.

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Format: Audio CD
I will begin this review saying that I am 41 year old male. Enough said. I have always appreciated new music imported from "across the pond". It generally must be good-well written lyrics, catchy melodies, and great guitars. H.I.M. delivers the goods on this record! Who would have thought a Scandinavian troup could have take up the "Popular Scepter" and nearly dominate the scene? I am very satisfied with thier effort!

I had the chance to see them last evening at my local theatre. The crowd was a bunch of "twenty-something" post metal goths who seemed to know and love all the songs. This is the wave of the future it seems to me. I approve whole-heartedly! I felt this generation had no style or character. H.I.M clearly defines this graceful, romantic and dark style! If they keep this up, I can only see it flourish amidst "fluffy-pop trash".

Now, onto Dark Light. This album delivers all of the jewels that I come to expect from this new brand of tortured rock anthems! Comparisons will abound, of course. It is difficult to reinvent the genre. This band takes it and stylishly gives it a distictive Northern accent. There is no metal screamers here. Ville Valo's voice is melodic and filled with pain. In a musical age of violent and forgettable bands releasing unsuccessful music. H.I.M. restores a dark beauty not seen in many years.

The tracks are clean and catchy. "Vampire Heart" is kitschy, yet satisfying. "Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly" is a new goth love anthem that can be a throwback to the Mid 1980s Sisters of Mercy or the Mission U.K. "Behind the Crimsom Door" is my personal favorite. Heavy, dark, yet not burdensome. "Dark Light" the title track is moody and mysterious. Perhaps this record will show the bigger audience out there this band means business, and "dark" doesnt mean "evil". By all means-get a copy, go see them live.
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Format: Audio CD
The Good

An intriguing little riff dominates "Vampire Heart" while faded chugga-chugga riffs take command of the background. Valo's vocals are tortured and eerie, but maintain a great degree of melody and fluctuation. A dark, bluesy guitar lick is the main musical focal point of "Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly". How they ever made a sad sediment sound so pleasing is beyond me. Heavy muted riffs, catchy lyrical patterns, and a piercing solo make up "Under the Rose". "Dark Light" relies a lot of Valo's soothing vocal charm. Sometimes it's hard to tell is his balladry is sincere or vengeful.

A driving piano lick leads the charge on "Behind the Crimson Door". Thick guitars and thumping bass take you the rest of the way. Once again, Valo's untamable love affair is the main focus of his lyrics. If her love is going to be the death of you behind the crimson door, maybe you should try the green one. One of the darkest tracks would be "Play Dead". It's a down-tempo song that Valo injects with plenty of hurt emotions.

The Bad

The guitar tones aren't as dark and ominous as I remember them from Razorblade Romance. There are a lot less haunting keyboards too.

The Verdict

I'm ecstatic that H.I.M. are finally getting their shot in the U.S. Their music is unlike anything we have over here, and has been for years. Although, Dark Light is not as `dark' as the last album I've heard from the group, it's still a great representation of these talented (and tortured) Finnish rockers.
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