“XX – Two Decades Of Love Metal” by HIM

Artist: HIM
Title: “XX – Two Decades Of Love Metal”
Label: The End Records
Release Date: 10/26/2012
Genre: Gothic Metal/Hard Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

It’s sure been a rollercoaster of music life for the last few years for the guys in HIM because after their “Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice” album, they parted ways with their longtime US label and pretty much seemed to disappear from peoples sights but never for a second in their fans musical hearts. I remember reading forum posts suggesting that HIM should at long last start their own label and while years ago that might have been grand, I felt the too rapidly shifting geography of the music industry would not have had room for this. That said I was very happy to find a new greatest hits compilation being released by The End Records, a label that I have enjoyed the output on for several years. This is the second such release in the bands discography and was different enough to be enjoyed for its content. Let’s examine it shall we.

The album starts off with a brand new cover of the band Ke in “Strange World” which I will admit was completely new to me and let me listen without bias. I looked up the original and the Ville Co. version of course features its Gothic Melancholy makeover and really rocks. This will surely go over well in the live sense. I did find this tunes choice of start lyric of “this is our last chance to say what we have to say” and feared that the singer might be putting the band to bed and let’s hope that this will not be the case for a very long time. Looking over the twenty inclusions it seems that eight of them are the radio edit versions which give the schooled listener a slightly different listening experience especially when it comes to the tracks that are a little bit longer. As a ten year deep listener to the HIM material I can safely enlighten you that most of the necessary tracks are here for the new listener to quickly get a good idea about what the band is and of course I noticed some “must have” omissions. I would have loved to see “Vampire Heart” and “Fortress Of Tears” included and since I have a strong appreciation for their version of “Solitary Man” I’ll say that one as well but then at the end of the day I guess the larger goal was to not duplicate the “And Love Said No” best of that came out a few years ago on too many turns. Fortunately the new listener can tune into Spotify or MOG to delve into the stuff I suggest a little more. Personal favorites of “Wicked Game” (the Chris Issak cover), “Join Me In Death” and “Wings Of A Butterfly” are all here and new listeners cannot go wrong with any of these. Through it all it’s a solid listen and one that I don’t think you will find yourself skipping around at any point. Even though I knew all but the first track I kept right on going from start to finish and I think you’ll find this being the case as well. There is also a super cool cover with their famous Heartagram logo on it.

The question remains about whether or not you actually need this album, and well, if you don’t care for radio edit tracks then I will have to say “no” should be your answer but hear me out for a second. Since the band is continually appealing to new fans every day, this 20 song compilation is the perfect place to start out for the new fans because it touches almost every single release from over the past twenty years. I think the bands diehard fans will snag a copy and I am going to call on all of these legacy fans to hit up Amazon.com and start ordering copies for the burgeoning Gothic Melodic Metal fan in your life. They might as well be put on the path in the best possible fashion. Now at the time of this writing HIM has not yet announced when or where their new album will come from but I would not mind it being released on The End Records at all since they had done good with bands like The 69 Eyes and Lordi who are also providers of some serious Finnish sound. Let’s hope a decision is come to soon so we can get that new music in our hands and enjoy some live touring. Historically speaking the band has not been to this neck of the woods since the “Screamworks” tour of 2010.

Track Listing:
1. Strange World
2. Join Me (In Death)
3. Heart killer
4. Wings Of A Butterfly
5. The Kiss Of Dawn (radio edit)
6. The Funeral Of Hearts (radio edit)
7. Right Here In My Arms (radio edit)
8. Pretending
9. Buried Alive By Love (radio edit)
10. Gone With The Sin
11. Your Sweet Six Six Six
12. The Sacrament (radio edit)
13. Wicked Game
14. Killing Loneliness
15. Bleed Well (radio edit)
16. In Joy And Sorrow (radio edit)
17. Poison Girl
18. Scared To Death
19. When Love And Death Embrace (radio edit)
20. Heartache Every Moment

Official Website: www.heartagram.com

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