If you’re at all into European goth pop, or if last-minute costume preparations have ever landed you inside a Spenser’s, you’ve probably heard of H.I.M. The Helsinki group has been burning through the allowance money of German and Finnish teenagers since the early ‘90s with what they’ve termed “love metal”. Between storming festival stages across the world, guitarist Linde started Daniel Lioneye, which began as “sleaze rock” but now makes “black metal”. That last distinction is in quotes for a reason: this is about the most bridge-and-tunnel black metal I’ve ever heard.
I can’t in good conscience recommend this record. It pleases no one in an attempt to please everyone. The Warped Tour crowd have little they can sing along to, but the boneheaded riffing and 4/4 thrashing will embarrass fans of more serious metalcore. Black metal heads shouldn’t even bother as this stuff is far closer to Killswitch Engage than Immortal, or even Cradle of Filth. More importantly, though, Volume II is simply inconsequential. It’s ready-made for advertising skate shoes but not worth much more than a cursory spin while driving through the suburbs on an angsty day.