Now, the admittedly stunning solo record, was covered quite extensively within the alternative music press as it is, as it charted well around Europe (Including a UK Top 30 slot in the vinyl charts), and with his European tour currently in full swing, we must satiate our rejuvenated musical lusting's, with all things love-metal inspired, and get right back into the thick of it, which brings us to today's band; FLOVER.
You may remember Flover from my 2020 review of “Songs Of Our Broken Hearts”, from which we played a tongue-in-cheek game of HIM Bingo, as the sweet rockers had zero shame in wearing their Heartagram’s on their sleeves, being influenced by Finland’s finest. 2023 finds the fan boys on fine form, as they release their latest album “Love’s Poetry & Dead Melodies”. Eyes down folks, it’s time for another round, but, in this year of thee and me, are we talking two little ducks, or giving too little fucks? Let’s find out...
Now before we proceed, the whole HIM-Bingo game itself is FAIRLY loose in terms of rules and such; we’re essentially just looking for similarities and parodies, cheeky nods to other songs if you will. Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery after all. So, with that in mind, we open up with (According to their Bandcamp at least) “Requiem Of Love”, which is an immediate Bingo-card crossed off, as it references “Love Metal” and the bonus track “Love’s Requiem”. The track starts with some incredibly gentle synths, and houses all of the typically slow-chugging riffs you’d expect from a HIM track. Vocally too it’s an ode to Ville, with the similarities in baritone drawl, soaring moments and hushed subtlety. It’s absolutely fine as a track, and could easily pass as a HIM demo, without implying any negativity.
Next up we have “Suffering” and this one initially has a brief whiff of “Dark Light” regarding the synth delivery and tone here. Again, it’s only subtle, but HIM fans will easily pick up and appreciate the recognition. It’s got ample chorus melody and transitions, and they even deep dive into Ville’s own tastes as there’s a cheeky nod to “Crazy Train” by OZZY OSBOURNE thrown into the mix occasionally on guitar. “Just Our Autumn” has “Razorblade Romance” levels of production all over it, and it reeks of “Join Me (In Death)” but, let’s be honest, that’s never a bad thing. The throwback nostalgia this induces is sweeter than any number of sixes.
The fun doesn’t stop there either, folks, as “Wonderland”, or it’s chorus structure at the very least is very unashamedly “Salt In Our Wounds” from “Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights”. It’s uncanny by this point, that you could quite easily state that Flover were HIM from an alternate dimension and do you know what? I don’t think anyone would call you a liar. “Dance With Me” then steps it up a gear in terms of grit and attitude, with the guitars oozing hard rock swagger, but, what’s this? This too is familiar? Of course, it is, there are more than enough nods to “Soul On Fire” here in the instrumentation, it’s just not AS aggressive, fast-paced or intense.
“Agony In Your Eyes” then, tonally finds itself somewhere between “And Love Said No” and the gloomier aspects of 2007’s “Venus Doom”, before we eventually get the abbreviated “L.Y.L.I.C.”, which couldn’t possibly be in reference to “Tears On Tape” and “W.L.S.T.D.” could it? Surely not? An abbreviation of “Love You Like I Can”, it actually serves as a 2-in-1, as we could argue it also references “Love You Like I Do”, especially as it’s a deep rock ballad with a slow tempo and impassioned vocals.
All in all, if you are reading this, you could easily think, Gav, why are you picking so many holes here? Can’t they just enjoy what they create in honour of something they care so very much about? Well, they absolutely can, and on this, their 3rd full-length album, they haven’t disappointed. Sure, it looks like I’m calling them rip-off merchants with a near copy-and-paste formula that’s bordering on identity theft, but that’s admittedly part of the appeal. As a HIM fan, while it is genuinely appreciated that a band has taken it upon themselves to continue HIM’s niche style and sound, you can’t help but have a chuckle and a bit of banter when some of these things are so blatantly obvious.
Be it a riff, a lyrical likeness, a melody, a vocal delivery; some of these similarities we’ll say, are plain to see, and with Flover, that’s a key contributing factor of what makes them such an enjoyable listen. I respect what they are, and legitimately recommend checking them out. Not a fan of HIM but just generally enjoy Gothic-tinged melodic rock? Here’s a new band for you to check out. You ARE a HIM fan and still miss HIM, even though VV is currently active? Maybe you couldn’t get tickets for VV’s European tour and need cheering up? Get your fix here, without taking life too seriously. It’s a win/win really.