Updated: Mar 18, 2019
If you have been waxing nostalgic about the days of MySpace and find your self-wondering whatever happened to H.I.M, here is your answer. This is the solo project of H.I.M guitarist Linde Lindstorm, he has taken this show on the road with Cradle of Filth so it’s heavier and has half the cheese stunk H.I.M albums. He claims that this project is more influenced by black metal, but isn’t that what everyone says these days. I'll say it's heavier but not black metal. The vocals are baritone croon, not far from what Vile did in H.I.M, just less gasped and over accented. It's right at the border of metal and hard rock for me. H.I.M often referred to their sound as "love metal" which was another way for saying we make music for girls and sissy boys. This is not as sissy boy as Linda former band, but if you are a regular reader here then chances are this won't cut it as metal for you regardless of how many times they opened for Cradle of Filth. Judged on it's own merits as hard rock, its pretty decent.
The drumming is pretty solid here. Lyrically "Break it or heal it" has something to do with a suicide note, which I'll take over a love song any day. His Finnish accent makes the vocals more interesting than your American radio rock fodder. Some electronic elements lead into the harder double drive of "License to defile". The vocals take a little of the riff's edge off. Sax comes in and the songs gets weird but maintains it's drive. There is a darker power ballad like feel to "Ravensong". Now they are left of metal and in alternative rock. Halfway into this song I am wondering when the Goth is going to come. Instead what we get are some proggy keyboards and a pretty solid guitar solo.
"Alright" brings them closer to their black metal aspirations. "Aetherside" which you can check out below, demonstrates their strengths with keen songwriting that is focused and has more balls than your average power-ballad. They do not force but themselves to get more metal than they comfortable with. I like how the vocals sit over the heavier riff of "Dancing With the Dead". There is more industrial groove metal like attack to the onset of "Oh, God In Your Great Mercy". This is another song where the juxtaposition of the more laid back vocal melody against the more pounding riff works well. It almost sounds like Dinosaur Jr jamming with Fear Factory.
"Mathematics of the Storms" begs to have an insane guitar solo soaring out of it, but instead they go to the tried and true loud to soft dynamic and ebb down into verse. The vocals are not delivered in a metal or even hard rock fashion on this song and many other points in the album. "Neolithic Way" close the album and aside from the screamed sections would not be out of place on an Alice in Chains album. The chugged groove of the verse is pretty effective and I was not expecting the harsher vocals to come in. Clean singing might dominate this album, but the harsher vocals are not always used in the most obvious places on this album, so over all they should be commended for showing a great deal of restraint and this turned out way better than I thought it would going into this.