Compilation albums have always divided response in two. To some, they are simply monetary releases that are brought out whenever a band or artist needs a little injection of funds in the kitty. To others though, they are the perfect entrance into discovering a well-established act for the first time and opening the door into purchasing records that would usually have been passed over when searching CD racks or iTunes lists.
As far as Finnish outfit H.I.M. are concerned, this new compilation does exactly the latter – every single release over thirteen years, a new song (albeit a cover) of ‘Strange World’ by Ké and the perfect way for the band to ease the wait on fans for their new album, Tears on Tape and give others an opportunity to hear their music and potentially make new fans.
And let’s be honest here, the songs chosen show off H.I.M. in the best possible light.If you wanted to know what ‘love metal’ was like, this album does exactly that in the space of an hour and 20 minutes. From the sheer power of Bleed Well and Wicked Game to the infectious Heartkiller and the crushing Join Me (In Death), there isn’t a studio album left untouched and the order is such that you’re being flung back and forth through time with every track. One moment you’re in their Razorblade Romance era of the late 90’s, the next you’re at the very beginning of the 2010’s with tracks from latest album Screamworks. It’s a complete rollercoaster through the career of a band who took the doom-esque tones of Black Sabbath and married it with the gothic dance stylings so present in the 1980’s.
Of course, being a singles collection in essence, there are a number of radio edit versions present – eight in total – and to the purists out there this can be seen as vandalism, particularly if the edit is done poorly. But this is a very minor criticism in the wake of an album that is punchy and to-the-point, Ville Vallo’s baritone voice soaring when required and sinking to a near whisper during the quieter moments.
If you’re a H.I.M. fan already, this will make a nice addition to your collection. If not, this will most likely make you one in the process. 8/10
Ville Vallo – vocals, acoustic guitar
Mikko “Linde” Lindström- guitars, acoustic guitar
Mikko “Migé” Paananen – bass, contrabass, backing vocals
Mika “Gas Lipstick” Karppinen – drums, percussion
Janne “Burton” Puurtinen – keyboards, piano, backing vocals
1. Strange World
2. Join Me (In Death)
4. Wings of a Butterfly
5. The Kiss of Dawn
6. The Funeral of Hearts
7. Right Here in My Arms
9. Buried Alive By Love
10. Gone with the Sin
11. Your Sweet Six Six Six
12. The Sacrament
13. Wicked Game
14. Killing Loneliness
15. Bleed Well
16. In Joy and Sorrow
17. Poison Girl
18. Scared to Death
19. When Love and Death Embrace
20. Heartache Every Moment