“Digital Versatile Doom: Live at the Orpheum Theater” by HIM

Artist: HIM
Title: “Digital Versatile Doom: Live at the Orpheum Theater”
Label: Sire Records
Release Date: 4/29/2008
Genre: Gothic Melodic Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Captured during the bands tour for the “Venus Doom” album, “Digital Versatile Doom” delivers to the HIM fans worldwide a long hoped for live recording of their material. It’s certainly been a long time coming, for while the band had been active since 1991 and released five studio albums, this marks the first ever live collection of their repertoire. Fortunately for the bands diehard fan base, the live set for the album does not only focus on their most recent studio release “Venus Doom” and instead pays careful attention to the bands long-established hits by paying a visit to the albums that preceded it. Recently we have been finding bands delivering most of or all of their recent works on live releases and depending on the band that is doing it is how you can best perceive its reception from the fans. Dream Theater manages to pull it off without issue time and time again, but when Iron Maiden did their full new release for the concert it was met with a largely negative response. We have yet to see this particular performance come to light on a video releases and only time will tell if it should ever happen. I was glad that HIM didn’t avoid the older stuff because there are just too many songs that I have come to appreciate and look forward to hearing at every show. Being a stateside fan, I admit to being a bit of a latecomer to their sound, but I did manage to catch them at every visit since 2004 which is when they started coming over here for shows. I first picked up on their music at around early 2003 and have been following them very loyally since that time. It’s nice to have a live set for the stereo or music player to walk around with to help keep company to the other releases from the band.

Having seen them do their thing on a number of occasions made the inclusion of the full audio concert on a DVD the highlight of the release for me. It allows all of those people who find the band interesting but might have never caught them live the chance to better appreciate just how good they are in this sense. Musically the band is tight but it is Ville Valo who mesmerizes the crowd during a show. He speaks to the audience pleasantly with his deep Finnish voice and does not seem to go a moment without a lit cigarette in his hand. HIM as a concert is not the most exciting visually, but they do use the lights and melodies to provide an interesting and very effective mood that is both dramatic and solemn while sometimes even inspiring depending on what song they are doing. All of my favorite numbers are here from the older stuff such as “Your Sweet Six Six Six” and “Join Me (In Death)” which has a wonderful bit of audience participation going for it. From the newer albums I particularly enjoyed the inclusions from “Dark Light” which I felt was a better album than some folks had said and of course from the recent release “Bleed Well” and “Sleepwalking Past Hope” shine. There are about five numbers from the “Venus Doom” release but they do not dominate the set as there are thirteen more tunes to enjoy that mix it up very well. As the front man Ville remains at the microphone which leaves the liveliness of the show in the charge of guitarist Linde and bassist Mige. Each of these players has been with the band since the beginning and while drummer Gas will be celebrating ten years in the lineup he also is very visual with how he smashes the kit. Keyboardist Janne is pretty much locked into place like Ville during the show. The concert was filmed at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles and comes packaged in a very sleek looking cardboard digipak. A booklet is included which has some very “done up” photos of Ville and the band members. I admit that I liked how this booklet looked in comparison to some of the bands other albums.

DVD Set: Intro (Blood Theme), Passion’s Killing Floor, (Rip Out) The Wings Of A Butterfly, Buried Alive By Love, Wicked Game, Kiss Of Dawn, Vampire Heart, Poison Girl, Dead Lover’s Lane, Join Me In Death, It’s All Tears, Sleepwalking Past Hope, Killing Loneliness, Soul On Fire, Your Sweet Six Six Six, Bleed Well, Right Here In My Arms, Funeral Of Hearts, V.D.O.

*** As a live DVD I felt this one was flawless and there are even a couple of bonus features to enjoy. The most interesting one would be the lengthy interview with Ville which was apparently done at the hotel around the time of the show. He talks about everything under the sun in terms of the bands recent adventures and this is very good stuff to get a chance to enjoy. He also seemed to smoke about two packs of cigarettes during the segment which amazed me. There is also a presentation of the contest winners for the “HIM’s Biggest Fans” and these five individuals got to go to a show for free and were offered the chance to meet the band. It was nice to see that these contests are done properly every so often and that they bear the promised fruit. As a piece of side advise to all music fans, it cant hurt to enter such contests if you see them happening because you never know how it will turn out. Perhaps you too will be at a concert for a band you love and shaking hands with them afterwards and getting photos for your MySpaceFaceTwitterBook. The old lottery saying of “you have to be in it to win it” rings true.

I loved this release and look forward to the bands follow up studio release to “Venus Doom”. My hope for it as a fan of the band is that it does not sacrifice the heavier edge that they have been utilizing to some success and also gives us new favorites to enjoy in concert until they deliver another DVD release like this one.

Track Listing:
1. Passion’s Killing Floor
2. (Rip Out) The Wings of a Butterfly
3. Buried Alive by Love
4. Wicked Game
5. Kiss of Dawn
6. Vampire Heart
7. Poison Girl
8. Dead Lover’s Lane
9. Join Me In Death
10. It’s All Tears
11. Sleepwalking Past Hope
12. Killing Loneliness
13. Soul on Fire
14. Your Sweet Six Six Six
15. Bleed Well
16. Funeral of Hearts

Official Website: http://www.heartagram.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *