It’s been 10 years since HIM released their last album Tears on Tape, I didn’t think it had been that long but Ville Valo, the king of Love Metal is back with his own album Neon Noir. After the heartbreaking news that HIM was calling it a day back in 2017, at least it was for me, I didn’t think I would hear music from one of my all-time favourite singers again but here we are, 2023 and goddamn it’s unreal to hear this guy’s voice on new music once more.
From start to finish, Neon Noir has all the hooks to get you singing, humming, or moving along, it’s something that Ville has always had a knack for, it’s rocky, it’s gothy, it’s soft in all the right places. I got a strange feeling from listening to this for the first time. I never expected to hear new music from Ville so it I had a sense of nostalgia from older albums but then excitement at the realisation this is new solo music, his own demon to control, this can go wherever He likes.
A big thing for me was the sound of this album. HIM albums had a doomy fuzz tone to them, a mix of Linde and Mige’s guitar and bass, Neon Noir is cleaner and crisper, it’s own sound. Yes, there is distortion still but it’s less Sabbathy in sound. The writing style is still the same or incredibly similar as to what He had been doing in the past but maybe more the arrangement of the album tracks is a new or different way of looking at things as it starts off more on the rock edge and then slowly makes its way to the moodier, goth sound with songs like Heartful of Ghosts.
My favourite track would be the title track, Neon Noir, I have been singing it non stop since hearing it. The main riff and the chorus are catchy as hell. This is one of the songs that have now been released on youtube with a film clip, alongside Loveletting and Echolocate your Love, which will also draw you in. I really enjoy seeing the released singles and then listening to the album to see what is the song that draws me in as a listener and the title track got me good!
This will be hard for Ville, whether he wants to break away from the HIM sound and create his very own thing or stay close by, he will have critics having a go from either side surely. Fans will either gravitate towards this because its so HIM like or they will dismiss it for the same reason, thinking he will do something completely different. I mean, still using the heartagram makes it pretty clear in the direction he wants to go but you know, people like to whine. I loved this album the whole way through and I’m excited to see what He does next with this project.
If you’re a lover of HIM or Goth n Roll, or just some catchy rock, then you will fall for this album just as hard as you did when you were 13 or 14. It has that sense of giving you nostalgia yet it’s something new to your ears as well.