Sound — 5
It's to be regretted that HIM isn't really a metal or at least gothic rock band anymore... At the begining of their music career the critics have christened HIM's genre as "love metal." They've played rather heavy music with a lot of growlig guitars. Take for example one of their most knowing cover version -- "Wicked Game," originally performed by Chris Isaak. They were really be able to impart a hard sounding to such melodic song. Their earlier creation was the same -- hard but melodic songs with mostly quiet smooth intros and versions mixed with distorted bridges and choruses. In a word, HIM has always played an obviously guitar-oriented music. But from the album to album their sounding become more pop-ish and pop-ish... The lead positions of guitar riffs have gone away. The songs has become more and more down-tempo, the dominant of the songs' structure has become the piano sounds as well as Valo's oversmoked and overdrunk vocals. I don't care if that are their attributes and features, but HIM (His Infernal Majesty) isn't a 'Majesty' (and especially 'Infernal') anymore! They are just a mediocre emo boys-band with slightly weighted sounding. Don't get me wrong, HIM still rocks, but it's not that attractive and mysterious HIM which we used to know. With "Dark Light" -- the latest studio release -- HIM desided to conquer the North American audience. And it seems to be a practicable plan. There is no even a little allusion to their scandinavian roots with its intricate music wafts and martial spirit. I would call them an 'emo-hard-rock' band. Only one thing is still here -- they play very melodic and catchy music, but being an admirer of more agressive formations I don't like it.
Lyrics — 8
The other thing that still remains is a lyrical content. Mr. Valo has always wrote about love and death... love to death... death in the name of love... love with dead... broken hearts... broken dreams... broken bones... Is it enough? "Dark Light" isn't an exception. These 'main' themes -- or the most of them -- are still here. The same thing I can notice concerning Valo's vocal skills. His voice has always been so wistful and impressive. If you've ever heard it before you will remember it forever -- its intensity and beauty -- even if it's 'oversmoked and overdrunk'.
Overall Impression — 6
In conclusion I want to say -- all that you've red above is just my own perception from this album an HIM as a whole. I would recommend this album both for the devoted HIM's fans and for the listener who has never heard of them before. "Dark Light" is a great example what the real 'metal heads' should avoid, but all the inexperienced musicians should aspire to. In my humble opinion this album is rather average release to measure of so skillful band. Hey, mr. Valo and Co, make something really powerful and interesting in place of these girlish melodies! Don't lose you listener!