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  • Tracy Heck

Love metal king Ville Valo invites listeners into his dreams

Co-reviewed by Tracy Heck and Cheryl Frishman

Five years after HIM disbanded, former frontman Ville Valo is back with his debut solo album Neon Noir, which is out tomorrow via Spinefarm, fittingly on Friday the 13th.

While Ville still brings us his own brand of love metal, he's expanding that classic sound with more eclectic elements combining metal, pop, rock and folk to create his own unique sound.

As the album flows, he moves effortlessly between genres sometimes making you feel like you're within his own dreams.

Featuring beautiful melodies, dark thought-provoking elements and various instruments all recorded by Valo himself, the album that was long-awaited by HIM fans is a successful bridge between the classic love metal sound and an exploration of where he can go next.

Neon Noir opens with "Echolocate Your Love" and the moment you first hear his deep, distinctive voice, you know Valo is back.

As the album moves on, Valo showcases love songs "Vertigo Eyes," "Loveletting" and "In Trenodia."

Title track "Neon Noir" is a highlight moment as Valo exercises his versatile voice and guitar skills as he begs, "Come love me until it hurts."

In the past, Valo has spoken about how it's sometimes hard to express himself with words and finds it easier to express himself with the music, and over the years he has used instrumental tracks to explore those emotions.

"Zener Solitaire" serves this purpose on Neon Noir as the haunting music take listeners on a epic ride.

For lifelong Valo fans, listening to the album evokes good memories and elements from past HIM albums like Razorblade Romance, Dark Light and Screamworks.

It's difficult to compare Valo to any other artist because he continues to be very unique and original while paying tribute to his own influences like Black Sabbath and Type O Negative.

Ville has always kept himself busy with various projects with other artists like MGT, Cradle of Filth, The 69 Eyes and The Agents.

His ability to work with so many different artists speaks to his versatile ability and fountain of ideas and he combines all of that into his first solo effort.

In the past, Valo has said he and many other artists are not trying to reinvent the wheel and that is the case here.

HIM fans will appreciate the little nods to the past and new fans will appreciate the wide mix of genres, sounds and ideas.

He's not reinventing the wheel, but his wheelhouse and dreamscape is where his fans want to be

As a whole, Neon Noir leaves listeners with a sense of hope and the idea that life always has room for rejuvenation.

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