Ville Valo and his gloomy crew return to their metallic roots with LOVE METAL, the band's heaviest offering since its full-length debut. Launching full force into the propulsive "Buried Alive by Love," HIM explore dirgey, Sabbath-style rock ("Sweet Pandemonium"), emotive balladry ("This Fortress of Tears") and high-speed angst ("Soul on Fire"). But amidst the turbocharged reinvigoration, the group retains a flair for disarmingly beautiful sounds, with flowing piano work on "The Sacrament" and a mandolin accompaniment on "The Funeral of Hearts." The closing number, "The Path," unexpectedly summons a slow-paced, '50s rock ballad feel, and the approach imbues the tune with a unique vibe. By this 2005 album, the Finnish band's formula could have been stagnant, but through passionate performances and a desire to push their own boundaries, HIM keep making beguiling, goth-flavored heavy rock for the masses.