Review VILLE VALO ‘Neon Noir’

If there was one in particular that made the dark side of rock mass compatible in the 90s, it’s His Infernal Majesty, also known as H.I.M.. The Finns started in 1991 and kept going, with a small interruption in the mid-90s, until 2017.

The debut album ‘Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666’ helped the band to gain popularity and it was in 2000 when H.I.M. made the final breakthrough with ‘Razorblade Romance’. In Germany and also in their Finnish homeland the record jumped to number 1 in the charts and the band was the talk of the town.

One of the main drivers of H.I.M. was the fascination of darkness, paired with a subliminal romanticism, which could hardly be staged better than by the frontman of the band – Ville Valo. The singer quickly became a heartthrob and has not lost his charisma to this day.

After the H.I.M. members separated after the 2017 farewell tour, the way was paved for a solo album by the singer. ‘Neon Noir’ is the name of the album, which Valo recorded. The heart of the Heartagram society will have already beaten faster with the announcement of the record and after I have listened to ‘Neon Noir’ a few times I must state that expectations are certainly met.

From the well-done artwork to the total of 12 songs, this solo album contains everything that fans of the singer could have asked for. ‘Neon Noir’ never gets really heavy and still has a certain degree of hardness, which makes the record accessible even for tolerant metal fans. Of course, it is the irresistible melodies, the dark side of romance and the unique voice of the singer, which are the defining elements of this record.

The album starts off quite lively with ‘Echolocate Your Heart’. The song builds on a good melody line and radiates a certain lightness. Valo finds the sweet spot between rock and pop, which is among other things reflected in ‘Run Away From the Sun’. Sometimes, like on ‘Vertigo Eyes’, even comparisons can be made with bands like A-ha.

On the other hand, there are the rocking moments, such as the title track, but also the vibrant ‘The Foreverlost’. Valo manages to give his songs an erotic melancholy that mesmerizes the listener on tracks like the atmospheric ‘Heartful of Ghosts’.

Overall, ‘Neon Noir’ doesn’t feature a single weak spot. Ville Valo’s solo album meets all expectations. Those who pinned a Ville Valo poster with tape above their bed in the 90s will be pleased with the latest solo work these days as well and so will fans of well-crafted rock music. The iconic singer delivers a multi-layered record without losing his roots. Great record.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1.    Echolocate Your Love         
  2.    Run Away From The Sun    
  3.    Neon Noir    
  4.    Loveletting  
  5.    The Foreverlost                   
  6.    Baby Lacrimarium  
  7.    Salute The Sanguine                       
  8.    In Trenodia  
  9.    Heartful Of Ghosts  
  10.    Saturnine Saturnalia                       
  11.    Zener Solitaire        
  12.    Vertigo Eyes

Label: Spinefarm Records

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: January 13th, 2023

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