Music / HIM

You know our sacred dream won't fail...
The sanctuary tender and so frail...
The sacrament of love,
The sacrament of warmth is true,
The sacrament is you.
"The Sacrament"

HIM (originally His Infernal Majesty) is a Finnish rock band formed in 1991 in Helsinki, Finland. Scoring a number of top-ten hits in Europe and South America, they also broke records by being the first Finnish band to have a gold album in the United States. HIM's breakout album, "Razorblade Romance" featured a heady mix of gothic-tinged ballads and heavy, crunching guitar riffs, a genre mish-mash which proved an instant success. HIM had five of their studio albums certified platinum in Finland with "Razorblade Romance" being certified double platinum in Finland and platinum in Germany.

The band currently consists of vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström, bassist Mikko "Migé" Paananen, Janne "Emerson Burton" Puurtinen on keyboards, and Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger. Things haven't always been this way, however...

HIM's genre remains a matter of dispute, though they are often classed as an alternative metal band. Irritated with such pigeonholing, lead singer Ville Valo has stated frequently that they are essentially a 'love metal' band; a sound that can be best described as 'Depeche Mode meets Black Sabbath'. He's used other such musical fusions to describe various parts of the band's repertoire, mainly with reference to 70s & 80s music.

Notably, the band's Heartagram logo is equally well-known.

Discography:

  • 666 Ways To Love: Prologue EP (1996)
  • Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 (1997)
  • Razorblade Romance (1999)
  • Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights (2001)
  • Love Metal (2003)
  • Dark Light (2005)
  • Venus Doom (2007)
  • Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Parts 1-13 (2010)
  • Tears On Tape (2013)

...as well as numerous greatest hits albums, remix albums and DVDs.


Contains Examples Of:

  • Actually Not a Vampire: Good luck convincing HIM's fangirls of this. The videos for 'Wicked Game' and 'Join Me in Death' as well as 'Kiss of Dawn' to a degree employ heavy classical vampire and otherwise Victorian gothic aesthetics. One Dark Light track is titled 'Vampire Heart.' Finally, the music video for 'The Sacrament' alludes to creatures of European folklore including arcane vamp-like creatures.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Many fans were pleased to learn that the band had split from Warner due to creative differences following Screamworks.
  • Arena Rock: Razorblade Romance & Dark Light both feature songs which fall into this category.
  • B-Side: Arguably the second Screamworks disc 'Baudelaire in Braile' which came with the preordered Screamworks set.
  • Badass Beard: Ville Valo circa 2007-2008 rocked a devilish beard Jack Sparrow would have been proud of. He usually teamed it up with heavy-duty guy-liner, further increasing comparisons with Johnny Depp.
  • Bald of Awesome: Gas Lipstick.
  • Bishōnen: Valo, Linde, and Burton, natch.
  • British Rockstar: Literally subverted if not allegorically. While Valo has a rather pronounced British accent to his English and even uses British terms like "one of my mates from pub" to describe a fellow barfly he knows personally, he and his bandmates all hail from Suomi.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lead singer Ville Valo is very much this, probably owing this to his less than... Conventional upbringing.
  • Cover Version: Several, including:
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ville Valo has a very morbid sense of humor. The rest of the band isn't far behind.
    • Unexpectedly present in other parts of HIM's work; the 'Screamworks' CD specifically sported a bright Barbie-esque label to make fun of the typical dark and grungy style of their genre.
  • Driven to Suicide: Not actually the point to "Join Me in Death". The song plays the trope straight if taken only at face value, but Valo reportedly said the song is more about giving up everything for the sake of loving someone, merely using death as a metaphor for how far you'd go in doing so (and with reference to Romeo and Juliet).
  • Dual Meaning Chorus: The vast majority of the band's song lyrics contain multiple levels of meaning in every line. To list every double entendre, reference to classic literature, shout-out to other rock/metal ballads, and so forth would be accordingly impossible.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: 'Wings of a Butterfly' and 'Sleepwalking Past Hope' come to mind.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Lead singer Ville Valo is often photographed indulging in public displays of affection with various men. Doesn't help that he's rumored to be bisexual.
  • Evolving Music: Listen to and compare the overall styles of each album for some rainy day fun.
  • Fallen Angel: Frequently evoked in their first two albums and later in select Venus Doom tracks. The celestial body Venus is closely associated with the Morning Star.
  • Fanservice: Check out the Ville Valo tag on tumblr sometime.
  • Greatest Hits Album: 'And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 19972004' and 'XX- Two Decades of Metal'
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: 'It's All Tears' contains the lyrics 'I'll violate you in the most sensual way'. Pretty self-explanatory.
    • The radar is then thrown out entirely in the live version on their Digital Versatile Doom recording when Ville adds the following to the end: 'Well I'm back / I got a cock made outta platinum'...
      • This is probably because the album version ends in a glitchy way, to make the listener think the CD is damaged. That would be pretty hard to replicate in a live setting. This raunchy bit is a piece of Monster Magnet's "Wall of Fire".
  • Grief Song: In spades.
  • I Am the Band: Averted in real life, as each band member contributes to some degree. Linde in particular has some pretty epic guitar solos under his belt, while the antics and personality of bassist Mige are frequently showcased in the band's various "Making of" music video production documentaries or interviews. Nonetheless the vast majority of fan presence online focuses on Valo. The rest of the band are also happy to let Valo handle most of the interviews and press for the band letting them concentrate on the music.
    • Further underlined by the frequent coming & going of personnel.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Valo is definitely a fan of these.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Burton's riff in 'The Sacrament', and roughly the first minute of "Sleepwalking Past Hope".
  • Lyrical Cold Open: Occasionally, such as in "In Venere Veritas", "The Funeral of Hearts", and "The Heartless".
  • Metal Head: A far more melodic and romantic flavor, but that chord is quite visible nonetheless.
  • Metal Scream: Frequent in Venus Doom and can be spotted in many of their earlier pieces. Unexpectedly frequent in Screamworks.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Around a 5 or 6, though they fit onto many levels at different times, particularly in Venus Doom and Screamworks.
  • Most Writers Are Male
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: HIM's genre is very much a matter of dispute. Safe to say, it's an eclectic, if acquired, taste. The only things you can really count on are the over-the-top love metaphors; beyond that, their style is generally somewhat dark, but "rock" is the only label you can reasonably apply to their entire body of work. "Alternative rock" might work too.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Inverted. Mige is a wildly popular member of the band, more so than Burton or Gas and arguably more than Linde.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, as well as Love Metal.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: Katherine Wheel, not that it stops there...
  • Obsession Song: 'Gone With The Sin', 'Katherine Wheel', potentially 'The Sacrament'.
  • Officially Shortened Title: The band was previously referred to as His Infernal Majesty, which predictably led to accusations of satanism and infant sacrifices. The name HIM was eventually adopted to quell suspicion.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Notable near the end of titular opening track 'Venus Doom'.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Implied in "Vampire Heart", at least if the lyrics are taken literally.
  • Revolving Door Band: Especially in their early years, their lineup of personnel was rather fluid. Things finally settled into the form they would take for roughly a decade and a half when Burton joined on keyboards to record Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, providing the longest-lasting lineup for the group till Gas left in 2015.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Relax, they're not Satanists. The only reason they drop 666 so often in their lyrics is due to a fascination with the occult, which is very rock & roll according to them. However, they've often found themselves in a peculiar spot - Moral Guardians consider them too close to Satanism to be anything but Satanists, but actual Satanists have actually requested that the group publicly distance themselves from any actual Satanic faction since they're not part of one.
  • Rock Opera: A mini-one in the epic ballad 'Sleepwalking Past Hope', for sure.
  • The Rock Star: Everyone qualifies when onstage, but Ville has a noticeably more unassuming and gentle demeanor otherwise.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Many.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Often, though Burton has taken over the backup vox recently.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Frequently implied with this band.
  • "Setting Off" Song: 'The Path', if nothing else.
  • Singer Name Drop: While not a song they themselves wrote, 'Solitary Man' sports a heavily pronounced "Him" at the end of one line and is further emphasized in their music video.
  • Singer Songwriter: Ville.
  • Stage Names: Listed in the description. The band's multiple side projects feature the same people under an entirely different set of stage names as well.
  • Subdued Section: Occasionally pops up. 'Your Sweet 666' employs this.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Not surprisingly implied in "Vampire Heart".
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: At 6'2", Valo embodies this trope.
  • Title Track: Inverted with 'For You' in which "666 Ways to Love" appear in the lyrics. Played straight with "Dark Light" and "Venus Doom", then twisted in Screamworks with the subtitle phrase "Love in Theory and Practice" appearing in the song "Katherine Wheel".
  • Un Installment: Try finding the 665 albums of love songs prior to HIM's debut album.
  • Unplugged Version: A few, largely in the Uneasy Listening albums.
  • Vocal Evolution: Valo's voice has gotten higher-pitched and more nasally over time.
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: Played for Laughs in a particularly jazzy cover of 'For You.' Even Ville's stunning falsetto has its limits...
  • Wicked Heart Symbol: Their logo is a fusion of a heart and an inverted pentagram. The band characterizes their style as "love metal". One of the first songs they ever recorded was a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game".
    • Prior to adopting the heartagram, they used a heart with 666 written in the center. This was only for their debut album despite the heartagram having already been around awhile by that time; Valo later recalled that this early logo was "a bit boring". Valo has described the heartagram as being a modern-day Yin Yang, and says that the symbol has become ubiquitous enough as to be more popular than the music it represents (probably because Bam Margera uses it since Valo gave him permission and the two are close friends).
    • He later designed another one by crossing a heart with a unicursal hexagram, a shape made famous by occultist Aleister Crowley. He had it tattooed on himself for reference, but doesn't seem to have done anything else with it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/HIM