ALBUM REVIEW: VV (Ville Valo) – Neon Noir


Following the 2017 death of HIM and a brief hiatus, Ville Valo debuted his solo project VV in the spring of 2020. After surviving on drip-feeding of singles over the past few years, romantics and vampires everywhere can finally rejoice as we’ve been given a feast in Valo’s first full-length record in a decade, Neon Noir (Spinefarm).

A masterful poet of dark devotion, effortlessly ethereal melodies, and palpable passion intricately sewn into every letter of every lyric he’s written, it’s rather impossible to criticize the father of love metal. Ville Valo’s ability to create such transcendent and mesmerizing pieces can only best be compared to the magic of artists like Prince and Bowie; people so undeniably put on this Earth to make music, you’ll start to wonder if they’re of Earth at all.


If you’re thinking there’s going to be any real journalism at any point in this article, don’t get your hopes up. Go read a different article if you want to hear me actually criticize this artist. Today, I’m a kid in a candy store, and I’m giving myself a reprieve from the hard-hitting journalism to fangirl. So, let’s dive into the velvet sea.

‘Salute the Sanguine’, ‘Run Away From the Sun’, and ‘Saturnine Saturnalia’ debuted VV via the maxi single Gothica Fennica. As we’ve had the most time with these tracks, it’s easy to pick them out as the most memorable on the record. However, while also seamlessly melding into the flawless fluidity of record as a whole, their vampiric allure remains a stand out in spite of the full release.


There really is no better word to describe this album or Valo’s discography as a whole than “vampiric”. Music that so often paints the imagery of an Anne Rice novel; ghastly Victorian figures dancing and drinking in the dim candle light of a castle. Equally romantic and horrific in nature. Detached from humanity, yet so enchanted by it. If it weren’t for a few daytime festival appearances, one would wonder if Valo himself was a vampire, especially when exploring batty themes like in the album’s first track, ‘Echolocate Your Love’. The utilization of binaural sound to replicate the movement of radar, coupled with a breakdown mimicking the scream of a bat and a powerful belt from Valo himself, makes for a brilliant execution of a concept track.


Another great strength of Valo’s, and what cemented him in the annals of metal—his ability to take tales of heartache and death and reshape them until their horrors become too hypnotic to comprehend. While this spell is always subtly lurking in every song he writers, it’s felt strongest on ‘Loveletting’ and ‘The Foreverlost’. This strength only grows more enchanting by Valo often reimagining the most macabre concepts into iconographies of love. ‘Baby Lacrimarium’, a personal favorite of mine, transforms tear-collection bottles placed in ancient Roman and Greek tombs into a vessel for eternal love and the revelry of suffering. ‘In Trenodia’, another personal favorite, aims to reimagine a death hymn as an intimate ballad.


There’s still plenty of songs left to discuss—we didn’t even get to the title track—but this article has gone on long enough. Do yourself the favor of experiencing VV’s magic for yourself and pick up this record. Perfectly timed a month out from Valentine’s Day, might I add. Valo often writes from a perspective so curiously detached from human eyes, almost like an otherworldly creature enamored by the human experience, thus detailing the rawest of human emotions through musical artistry. Everything written by his pen is a masterpiece, and Neon Noir is no exception.

Buy the album here:


9 / 10