H.I.M. (Finland): Ville Valo (vocals); Linde (guitar); Burton (keyboards); Midge (bass guitar); Gas (drums).
On their third album, Finnish goth band HIM take their dark, brooding, hard rock sound into more pop-friendly territory, thanks in part to the production work of Kevin Shirley (Aerosmith, Journey) on three tracks. Even then, the group has not lost its guitar-driven bite or tragic/romantic edge, as frontman Ville Valo waxes melancholic about love and lust on the hook-laden tunes "Salt in Our Wounds," "In Joy and Sorrow" and "Pretending." Sure, there's more acoustic guitar on this album, but there are also fewer ballads than on its predecessor, RAZORBLADE ROMANCE. HIM create their catchiest tune yet in the smoothly polished gem "Please Don't Let It Go," a song about holding on to love, that makes you want to embrace its vibe as long as possible.
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