H.I.M.

XX: Two Decades of Love Metal

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For certain, there is no shortage of options for someone looking to get acquainted with H.I.M. Those new to the work of the Finnish goth-metal group could get their feet wet with 2004's exceptional And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits ’97-’04; wade into the pool of B-sides on Uneasy Listening, Vols. 1 & 2; or go completely overboard with The Singles Collection, an expansive ten-disc sampler for the hardest of hardcore fans. The 20-song disc XX: Two Decades of Love Metal does a reasonable job of expanding on what was their most likely starting point, And Love Said No. However, choosing between the two is a matter of taste. With this one, a Neil Diamond cover is replaced with a previously unreleased cover of "Strange World" by Kevin Grivois (aka ). In return for losing "Close to the Flame," "And Love Said No," and "It’s All Tears (Drown in This Love)," we gain two songs apiece from Dark Light, Venus Doom, and Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice. These later-era songs are up to snuff with the earlier material, so it really comes down to whether you can live with the fact that eight of these songs are radio edits. If so, this is an excellent way to start experiencing the fuzzed-out gloom and doom. Then the next logical step is to go back to square one and check out Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666 (which isn't a compilation, despite the misleading name).

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