For a band to continue to engage its audience and keep its fans from leaving them behind to seek something new, it needs to evolve its sound. It doesn’t have to be anything radical, but some experimentation or variety here and there is rarely a bad thing especially where longevity is to be had. Sadly, this message seems to have completely bypassed HIM judging by Tears on Tape.
I’ll be blunt. There’s nothing on this eighth studio album that doesn’t sound like I’ve already heard it on any of the previous seven. It’s the same overly melodramatic love/hate/tragedy filled Gothic tinged rock that I’ve heard so many times now and it is quite simply boring. It’s almost a mockery of itself at this point.
Now I’m sure that die-hard HIM fans will argue all the statements I’ve made so far. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? I can get behind that if the music is exciting and vigorous, but the slightly drunken sounding crooning of Ville Valo set to the bland reheat of music that’s already been diluted and reheated before, is for me the final nail in an already well tacked coffin. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve enjoyed the band in the past, but Tears on Tape just isn’t worth the effort. In fact, it takes an effort to enjoy it and it’s effort wasted.
The finest evidence I have is provided by the band itself on the extra DVD bundled with the Limited Edition which includes 7 “Live in the Studio” tracks. The first track is “Buried Alive By Love” from 2003’s Love Metal. It’s superior in every way to everything on the album itself. When a ten-year old song is the most interesting thing on the record, it speaks louder than words ever could.
It simply suffers from the law of diminishing returns. Maximum yield has long since been gathered from HIM and each successive release continues to milk an already dry and rather depressed and mopey cow. Ironically one that would probably love listening to something like this.