- Sam Ley
As Ville Valo droveTO HIMOn 31 December 2017 at Tavastia club with 700 concerts in Helsinki for the last time backstage, they left not only one of heavy music's most obsessive cult followings, but also a back catalog of songs that blurred the lines between alternative rock.Boajjudgedunlike anything that had happened before.
Formed in 1991 with Ville (his six-string bass replacing a guitar), childhood friend and four-string bassist Mikko 'Mige' Paananen and a rotating assortment of drummers playing under the banner of 'His Infernal Majesty', the balance between fiery romance and big riffs were there from the start. Mige's departure for national military service in 1993 resulted in a temporary pardon for the process, but his return in 1995, along with the recruitment of guitarist Mikko 'Linde' Lindström, drummer Juhana 'Pätkä' Rantala and keyboardist Janne 'Burton' Puurtinen, saw them roar again Life. Recorded over 15 days in the summer of 1997, the seductively dark sounds of debut LP Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 caught the attention of dark hearts across the continent.
A quarter of a century and seven more LPs later, the band is still polarizing the metal community (their main support venue formetallicin July 2007 at Wembley Stadium prompted a fairly hostile reaction), but hits like Right Here In My Arms and Buried Alive By Love have lost none of their nightclub-rock appeal, while deeper cuts like Venus Doom stand as proof of this Guys really could push the boundaries if they wanted to. Looking back at this top 20, it's impossible to imagine anyone could match their uniquely sexy/somber appeal.
Bow to the kings of love metal...
20Razorblade Romance (1999)
HIM leaned heavily into the dark, vampiric romance of second album Razorblade Romance, featuring a shirtless Ville against a pink background on the cover, a cigarette dangling suggestively from his pouty lips. Meanwhile, the album's elusive title track, Razorblade Kiss, appears like a creature of the night trying to get to your dresser. Interestingly, Ville himself considered the track to be HIM's version ofKISS-Old school rock 'n' roll style. We think you're more likely to rock your hips than bang your fists, but it's a punch either way.
19Tears on the Tape (2013)
The title track of HIM's eighth and final album, Tears On Tape, aches with bittersweet melancholy while also paying homage to the artists who put Finns on the path to love metal in the first place. The prominent pianos, acoustic guitars, and general sense of sadness conjure up the spirits of the 80's icons Ville grew up with and adores, such as:Kerbhöhlejdiscard away, while the deceptively sincere lyrics pay homage to Doom's strongest influences. "It's my homage to the music I grew up with," the singer explained in interviews at the time. "It mentions the ringing of church bells and the rumble of thunder, and it's a dedication to the first Black Sabbath album and so on."
18Killing Loneliness (Dark Light, 2005)
Although already big rock stars on their side of the Atlantic, HIM didn't break America until their fifth album, Dark Light. The massive songwriting on the third single "Killing Loneliness" is a big part of that. Although the song reads like a classic goth rock jammer about the lasting effects of the breakup ('Memories sharp as daggers. / Pierce the flesh of today. / Love's suicide has taken all that matters / And buried the remains in a nameless grave in your heart...'), Ville himself explained that the song was inspired by the addiction struggles of professional skateboarder and close friend Brandon Novak. In fact, Brandon's struggles landed him in prison in 2011 after forging prescriptions for the powerful tranquilizer Xanax.
17Giftmädchen (Razorblade Romance, 1999)
The fourth single from Razorblade Romance seemed so formulaic that it was overlooked upon release, but became a live favorite for decades to come. The track isn't just stereotypical, toxic goth rock, it's said to be influenced by a very specific woman in Ville's life and the destructive power of some of the most beautiful things around her. 🇧🇷A prey destined for the cruelty of love' he sings, sounding quite broken. 🇧🇷As your inner serpent crept straight to your heart / The coldest love in kisses ceased to exist / As we parted like never before🇧🇷 Poor boy.
sixteenThe Way (Love Metal, 2003)
The nearly eight-minute final track from 2003's hit Love Metal LP feels like a summary of everything that makes HIM great. The instrumentation has a wonderfully light, anthemic, yet somber vintage pop feel, with billowing riffs building into an off-kilter six-string madness. The title refers to a term the band uses to describe their musical progression, while the lyrical narrative follows a man whose soul wanders eternally in search of true love and finds answers to some of life's biggest questions in the world. Another shade of black.
fifteenVampirherz (Dark Light, 2005)
Dark Light's second single captured this global moment perfectly. Wrapped in a variety of weird and wonderful instrumentation (a keyboard riff eerily reminiscent ofJohn Zimmermanthe iconic Halloween soundtrack, theremin-like synthesizers) and lyrics that seem to anticipate the undead fear of the Twilight books ("Let me cry this poem to you as the gates of heaven close / Paint my soul, scarred and alone / I wait for your kiss to take me home'), Vampire Heart was supposed to be indulgent deep goth rock on paper. A monument of polished glass and polished bone, however, they have been recognized as one of the most defining pop metal bands of the mid-2000s.
14Street of Dead Lovers (Venus Doom, 2007)
Almost as if they felt they'd strayed too far from the mainstream with Dark Light, sixth album Venus Doom saw HIM ramping up the hard rock energy and refusing to polish the rough edges. There were a number of difficulties during the making of the album, with Ville's split from his fiancée Jonna Nygrén and subsequent spiral into alcohol abuse, and it's easy to see that some of these troubles are reflected in Dead Lovers' richly gothic infamy . Area. 🇧🇷Despair has a face.,' They sing. 'And all these wounds remain unhealed / Blessed and enslaved to kill / Are hearts for the sake of loving / Excited to start over againDig deep enough and you will see true beauty in the dark.
13Heartache Every Moment (Deep Shadows and Bright Highlights, 2001)
The second track and third single from 2001's third album, Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights, is one of the smoother hits in HIM's repertoire of songs, with an obvious '80s AOR influence but with an infectious authenticity. Latest Favorite. An emphatic piano riff and some haunted synths open alongside one of Ville's most iconic couplets ('From lashes to ashes / And from lust to dust') before moving on to a three and a half minute biblical drama ('There is no angelic smile / Without the wrath of God') e romance sensual ('In your sweetest torment / I'm lost / And we feel the danger / But I won't give up🇧🇷 A subtle classic.
12In Joy and Sorrow (Deep Shadows and Bright Reflections, 2001)
Nose song titles still existed in 2001 and were correct, but HIM's songwriting has become much more complicated than it was in the early days. Combining acoustic guitars, pianos, subtle percussion, lush strings and a haunting organ, In Joy And Sorrow feels a bit like an updated version of blackwash.led zepelín- classic rock style. 🇧🇷Oh girl we're the same' they deliver lyrics that sound like a somber hymn. 🇧🇷We are strong and blessed and so brave / With souls to be saved / And faith restored / All our tears have been wiped away🇧🇷 "This is one of those songs that had a much bigger impact in the late 2000s.Emowhose movement would receive credit.
11The Burial of Hearts (Love Metal, 2003)
'Love is the burial of hearts / And an ode to cruelty / When angels cry blood / In the flowers of evil in full bloom' With that first verse of the fourth album's lead single, Love Metal, it seemed like HIM had gained a legion of new fans. Sadder and more melodramatic than the second single "Buried Alive By Love", "The Funeral Of Hearts" didn't show its handful; it was more of a refined example of the sound HIM had achieved thus far than a showcase of where they would eventually go. However, with a pure and organic spirit, it was difficult for even the most nervous of listeners not to be swept away by the lake of tears...
10Join Me In Death (Razorblade Romance, 1999)
Based on William Shakespeare's timeless romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the lead single from Razorblade Romance was a powerful reminder that HIM's dark love stories were not a modern invention. The image of unhappy lovers forever together in eternal rest is subverted to typically Gothic effect anyway. 🇧🇷We are so young / Our life has only just begun' sings Ville. 'But we are already thinking of / Escape from this worldWhile still in his pre-star days, the singer revealed that the lyrics to Join Me In Death were written in around 15 minutes, before working on the song itself on stage over the next few months.
9Wings of a Butterfly (Dark Light, 2005)
In addition to their biological metamorphoses, butterflies have symbolic meanings of resurrection and immortality in many cultures, and butterfly wings are often offered as sacrifices. Ville was very interested in the idea that you can't get anything new without sacrificing something old, and in this Dark Light single he asks if you're willing to destroy something beautiful to get what you want. Big 80s goth vibes here: The Mission andthe cultare clear benchmarks: they make it one of HIM's liveliest tracks.
8When Love and Death Embrace (Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, 1997)
In retrospect, the first single from HIM's brilliantly titled debut LP Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 sounds wonderfully prototypical for sounds to come. Crunchy guitars? Test. Synths pass out? Test. Depressing verses rising to a cathartic chorus? Have your tissues ready! Even this title can be read as an (almost) metaphorical description of how the band sounds. 🇧🇷I love you / And you break my heart' sounds like a simple text. 🇧🇷I need you / Please take me in your arms🇧🇷 They would move on to more subtle and energetic shows later, but there is something enchanting to watch Depeche Mode /Enter OInfluences pile up for HIM's first significant step toward fame. It was also the last song they played live.
7Vênus Doom (Venus Doom, 2007)
The title "Venus Doom" might seem a bit abstract by HIM standards, but it actually comes from the name of a David Harouni painting that Ville bought while touring in New Orleans. As it hung on the singer's wall during composition, it was a subtle influence and was eventually chosen as the album cover. The contrast between Venus (the Roman goddess of love) and misfortune was perhaps the noblest of her darkly romantic crosses. However, the heavy title track, punctuated by light piano passages, sees the dark romantic concept elevated on steroids, with Linde Lindstrom's guitar duly unchained. By the song's fourth minute, they twist and turn at the end, plunging into one gloriously dark epic doom before transitioning into another that feels like razor blades are slipping through your ear canal.
6Sin Away (Razorblade Romance, 1999)
Razorblade Romance's relatively ethereal fifth single, which opened with one of the most iconic live songs in their songbook, became a fan favorite: their sleek romance with caustic venom. The title is a cheeky nod to the epic American romance Gone with the Wind, while the lyrics focus on a beautiful young woman with a heart as dark as de Ville. The singer said the song was finished almost as an afterthought when the rest of the album was finished, with a more relaxed vibe for the song. It paid off and became a number one hit in their native Finland.
5O Sacramento (Love Metal, 2003)
While it's unclear if Love Metal's sixth song and third single is a direct affirmation of marriage tradition, it's a clear tribute to the bond that exists between two people when they fall in love. 🇧🇷I know my church is not made of silver and gold' echo some of Ville's most powerful lyrics, emphasizing that her place of worship is not a building but her partner's spirit. 🇧🇷His glory is beyond the judgment of souls / The commandments are comfort and warmth🇧🇷 The lush instrumentation is emblematic of the pulsating darkness of the love metal era.
4Tu dulce 666 (Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, 1997)
'There are things you should know / The distance between us seems to be growing / But you're holding on / Oh how hard it is to let go, oh how hard it is to let go / I'm waiting for your call and I'm ready, your six to carry six six in my heartThe poetry might not have been quite as sophisticated on the second single from HIM's first album, but it still hit the heart. Dive into these lyrics and it feels like she's telling an oddly youthful tale about a long-distance relationship that's slowly unraveling, but the real catch here is the pompous goth-rock composition that feels like a perfect midpoint between feels like the macabre. Type O and The Arrogance by Depeche Mode.
3Right Here In My Arms (Razorblade Romance, 1999)
The second single from Razorblade Romance felt like HIM had really nailed it with their edgy, mainstream pop sound for the first time, drawing attention not only from goth kids wearing liquid mascara but rockers in as well suits. Have a good time. Of course, Lovelorn's lyrics are full of inky feelings ('She smiles like heaven is on earth / The sun is shining so bright it hurts / All her wishes have finally come true / Her heart is crying / Luck is killing her'), but the glam rock swagger keeps the momentum and vibes at an incredibly high state of mind.
2Buried Alive by Love (Love Metal, 2003)
From the first thundering riff on the first Love Metal track (also rumored to be the first song written for the record) it was clear that HIM's attitude and aggression had increased exponentially. Ville declared in a K! Interviewed at the time when he was fed up with the more poppy sound the band was playing with and also became very interested in Norwegian punkturbonegro, with that fast, easy-going feel that flowed right into the music. Buried Alive By Love sounded like Black Sabbath throwing fists at the Stooges and was a wonderfully high octane progression. The music video (along with those for The Sacrament, Solitary Man and And Love Said No) was directed by de Ville's friend.bam margera, with Juliette Lewis, resided at the Los Angeles Theater in Los Angeles and was instrumental in gaining control of music television in the mid-2000s.
1Sleepwalkers Beyond Hope (Venus Doom, 2007)
Critics often point to HIM's reliance on archetypal gothic romance and stealth aesthetics as sort of proof that they shouldn't be taken seriously. It should take them 10 minutes to immerse themselves in the fantastical glow of Sleepwalking Past Hope. Not only the longest track in their back catalogue, but also their deepest and darkest, the Black Sabbath influence is very prominent here, with a huge Doom riff sitting front and center in the mix, while Ville's vocals and a delicate Piano line sporadically break through rhythm. Swirl. make shadow passesprogramand a grandiose pop-metal crescendo, there are even shades of morbidity that would later be successfully exploited by other Scandinavian superstars.Geist🇧🇷 Inspired by de Ville's relationship with Jonna Nygrén, the singer has long pondered the fragility of a relationship between damaged souls, but nothing is saved forever with a Luciferian goodbye:'My hell starts at 10 and goes down to the circle / Six hundred and sixty six / And from there I crawl under Lucifer's claws just for one last kiss🇧🇷 Frown!
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