For better or worse, there are a few artists that were seemingly incessantly assaulting my earholes as a young burgeoning record store retail warrior during the early aughts in Boston. If you were a regular customer around that time in the Back Bay area, chances are you’d be hearing breakthrough albums from Turbonegro, CKY, Andrew W.K., Cave In, At The Drive-In, and HIM among others whenever you’d venture into those hallowed aisles and, if you worked there, you heard them ALL THE TIME. Some latched onto my soul and continue to be faves while others, like John Hammond’s amber encased fossil mounted on his cane, will forever remain frozen in time as a reminder of what once was.
But I digress!
Regarding HIM, it was Razorblade Romance at the time that was all the craze with the kids and while I didn’t dig too much of what followed Venus Doom (STILL a banger and the closest anyone has come to making a Type O Negative record without any members of TON), Ville Valo as HIM still remained a solid outfit with some solid records before that band eventually folded. But that heartagram sentiment lives with Valo and the latest offering from VV, Neon Noir.
“Echolocate Your Love” is hauntingly beautiful and, for a Venus Doom fan, picks up right where that one left off with a swooping Gothic anthem that immediately sets the tone for what’s to come. “Run Away from the Sun” settles nicely into a lush atmosphere with Valo’s humming croon at the forefront while the title track is a prickly rock and/or roller that stomps as it sweetens the pot in the high stakes game of effervescent emotional music.
Deeper into the epic emotional roller coaster of Neon Noir, “The Forevorlost” conjures up a layered rabble rouser fueled by Valo’s lush vocals while providing a stark contrast to the concluding bombast with “Salute the Sanguine” offering a magic carpet ride of its’ own on this vigorous aural odyssey. “In Trenodia” is a softer soliloquy that accents even more so the power of Valo’s emotive vocal approach and melodies, “Heartful of Ghosts” is a vibrant vibrating thing of beauty that hearkens back to some of the greatest power ballads of the ’80’s (Lookin’ at you, “Take My Breath Away”), and “Saturnine Saturnalia” is a big, brooding, haunting behemoth. Winding down, “Zener Solitaire” is an ethereal instrumental prelude that paves the way for closer “Vertigo Eyes” to majestically conclude this new and enthralling chapter of Ville Valo’s musical legacy.
Neon Noir arrives in all its sonic glory on January 13th through Spinefarm Records. Pre-order yours now by heading here or here and for the latest from VV, including upcoming tour dates, follow the socials when you click here or here.