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In 666 ways I love you and I hope you feel the same.
—"For You", originally the first track on their debut full-length album
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HIM (originally His Infernal Majesty) was 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 that album being certified double platinum in Finland and platinum in Germany.

The band's roots go all the way back to 1991 when Ville Valo and Mikko "Migé" Paananen founded it as His Infernal Majesty. Things were on and off for awhile, then they got serious and started recording music, resulting in a few unreleased demos and 1996's 666 Ways to Love: Prologue. The following year, they dropped Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, and during this time they were dogged with accusations of Satanism despite the devil never actually showing up in any of their work.

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Well, they were accused by Moral Guardians, anyways. The real Satanists didn't like them because their art wasn't Satanic enough. Pressured on both sides, the band changed their name to HIM out of frustration just to get rid of the devilish name. Their 1996 EP is the only thing they released under their original name.note 

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They were successful enough at home, but then The Thirteenth Floor happened. In the European version of that movie, HIM's Razorblade Romance single, "Join Me in Death", played over the credits. This gained them a significant, loyal following in Europe and the UK, with their true North American breakout happening later, probably with "Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly" which propelled their 2005 album Dark Light to gold status, making them the first Finnish act to ship over 500,000 copies in the US.

In 2000, on his way to a skateboard competition in Finland, a fellow by the name of Bam Margera happened upon the album Razorblade Romance, which made him an instant HIM fan. He got to meet the band in person, becoming a close friend of theirs in the process. The association has been rather controversial, with many feeling Bam doesn't fit the image the group strive for or that he's dragging them down by associating them with Jackass. Like it or hate it, the friendship between Bam and Ville is so strong Bam's been allowed to use the heartagram logo for his own personal projects. Ville even shows up in Jackass Number Two. We'll let you find out where.

The band's final lineup consisted of vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström, bassist Mikko "Migé" Paananen, Janne "Emerson Burton" Puurtinen on keyboards, and Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger. Things weren't always 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 frequently stated that they were essentially a 'love metal' band; a sound that can be best described as 'Depeche Mode meets Black Sabbath'. He also 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.

The band called it quits in 2017 after collectively agreeing that while they were still friends and enjoyed playing their existing songs, they no longer had any real creative spark left as a group and it would be better to move on to other projects. The breakup was amicable however and they have not ruled out the possibility of a future reunion.

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)

It didn't stop there, either - a live album, a remix album or two, a few greatest hits records, and more B-Side recordings than you can count.


Contains Examples Of:

  • After the End: By the very end, the "Wings of a Butterfly" music video is set in this type of world. Not that the city surrounding the building looked all that good to begin with, but certainly the end was upon the world once the great flood that surrounds the tower by the video's end came down. Implicitly, this might also be the trope behind the album cover to Dark Light since the music video was based on it.
  • Arena Rock: Razorblade Romance & Dark Light both feature songs which fall into this category.
  • B-Side: Arguably the second Screamworks disc Baudelaire in Braille which came with preorders. Beyond that, the group have enough extra tracks to fill up a good seven more records. They were one of the many recording artists who released many singles from each album and took advantage of the CD single's extra space to squeeze all kinds of goodies onto the flip, including multimedia features like music videos - some of which weren't even for the title track. This practice wound down as the record industry changed, though - for HIM, it just barely survived into the Screamworks era.
  • 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 Finland.
  • 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.
  • Distinct Double Album: Their Uneasy Listening series, which collected only some of their many B-sides and unreleased tracks from the pre-Dark Light era. Volume 1 had softer tunes, mostly acoustic renditions, whereas Volume 2 was all about hard rock covers and demos of songs that were heavier before being softened for release on one of their main albums.
  • 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).
    • Sadly played straight for the inspiration behind "The Kiss of Dawn": a friend of Valo's who took his own life right after they finished making Dark Light. Suffice it to say this was just one of the events leading to Valo's downward spiral in time for Venus Doom.
  • 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, but hey, that's not going to stop us from trying...
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: invoked REALLY played up in some media appearances, especially during the Razorblade Romance era. A European promo for "Gone with the Sin" makes Ville look really ambiguous on the cover, but even more so is the cover for "Right Here in My Arms". The "ice version" of the music video for "Join Me in Death" does its damnedest to cause Viewer Gender Confusion. Safe to say when he was younger, Ville could REALLY pull this off, at least with the usual photo tricks, and it was mostly used to promote Razorblade Romance. He started moving towards a more masculine image beginning with Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, and continued until comparisons with Johnny Depp were all but inevitable.
  • 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, and Dude Looks Like a Lady (see above) hasn't helped matters either.
  • 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.
    • Perhaps this is part of what's at play in "Endless Dark", with the bit about belonging "away from [her] gods".
  • Fanservice: Check out the Ville Valo tag on tumblr sometime.
  • Greatest Hits Album: 'And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004' 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 probably exploded during 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.note  That would be pretty hard to replicate in a live setting. This raunchy bit is a piece of Monster Magnet's "Wall of Fire", though Valo sings it over the rest of the group playing "TV Eye" by the Stooges.
  • 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.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: invoked Ville's creativity isn't so much about entire subjects as it is certain details of those subjects; for instance, he isn't really a fan of everything J. R. R. Tolkien wrote, but is a big fan of the Uruk-hai.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: Burton's riff in 'The Sacrament', and roughly the first minute of "Sleepwalking Past Hope".
  • Love Hurts: Natch.
  • Love Is Like Religion:
    • A Love Martyr song "The Face of God".
    • In "The Sacrament", the narrator's religion is the relationship he has with his true love.
  • Love Martyr: "The Face of God" might not have just one meaning, but one possibility is that it's about being in a very one-sided relationship where you settle for being mistreated just so you can stay with the other person and still have your partner whisper all those sweet nothings into your ear. Very flowery nothings in this case, since they are Ville Valo's lyrics in this song.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: Occasionally, such as in "In Venere Veritas", "The Funeral of Hearts", and "The Heartless". In particular, the band found the opening to "In Venere Veritas" so powerful that when mastering its album, Screamworks, they made it the first track on the album.
  • 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: Generally around a 5 or 6, though they fit onto many levels at different times. Best examples could be Screamworks and Deep Shadows that are somewhere between 2 and 4 and Venus Doom which is generally around 7 and 8. Some live moments could be considered to be as high as 9.
  • 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.
  • Number of the Beast: In case all the 666 being thrown around in this article didn't clue you in by now. Actually, this applies on two different levels: Obviously 666 itself, but at least three songs were released in alternative form with the tag "616 Version". Apparently this happened after Ville learned that the number was translated differently depending on which manuscript of the Book of Revelation you had. There was also a parody "surround sound" logo on their Dark Light-era stuff that read "6.16 Surreal Sound", with the Dolby logo replaced with two halves of a heart flipped to face away from each other.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: Katherine Wheel, not that it stops there...
  • Obsession Song: 'Gone With The Sin', 'Katherine Wheel', potentially 'The Sacrament'.
  • Officially Shortened Title: Their name is not an acronym, but it is the result of shortening their original name, His Infernal Majesty. Being that this is another name for the Devil, it combined with their occult themes gave everyone the idea that they were hardcore Satanists. On top of that, their label disliked the name for how long it was; it didn't exactly roll off the Finnish tongue. The word HIM was found to be neutral enough while "sounding the same in every language" and having the letters of their original name in it. Sometimes, however, you might see their name given by music vendors as "H.I.M." or "H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty)", both of which are wrong.
  • 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.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • "Stigmata Diaboli" eventually became "Sigillum Diaboli". They are essentially unique songs now - the latter completely reworks the opening and closing riffs of the original while also including a guitar solo, and Valo's singing definitely matured from one to the other.
    • "One Last Time" was reworked into "The 9th Circle (OLT)". Guess what the OLT stands for.
  • Religion Rant Song:
    • Probably the closest one that qualifies is "The Sacrament", in which the narrator implies a belief that religions in general are based too much on being judgmental rather than accepting and loving, and essentially saying his religion is the relationship he has with his true love.
    • There are also tinges of this trope in "Venus (In Our Blood)", which contains a line implying Jesus Christ isn't the girl's potential savior (though this could just be in a romantic sense, not a spiritual one). Valo, while of course saying he would not reveal everything in the song, said the song is about a youth who should be allowed to figure out the world on her own rather than being indoctrinated into something throughout her upbringing, as far as religion goes... and maybe politics too.
  • 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. Even then, the newly Gas-less lineup didn't record any music.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Song: "Don't Close Your Heart" to "Join Me in Death"; the former is sung by someone trying to save whoever sang the latter.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Frequently implied with this band.
  • "Setting Off" Song: 'The Path', if nothing else.
  • Shout-Out: Well, we said we'd try...
    • Venus Doom, in its base edition, was said to have nine songs in reference to the nine circles of hell in The Divine Comedy, though Valo admitted later he couldn't recall if that were true or not.
    • What is certain is the full title of Screamworks, which references Aleister Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice.
    • And The Divine Comedy is definitely referenced in other places:
      • "In the Nightside of Eden" refers to the fourth circle, the punishment reserved for people who valued earthly goods far above the ones that actually matter.
      • "Sleepwalking past Hope" goes far beyond the original nine to bring the total up to 666 circles, implying that the narrator is trapped in the very last circle with Lucifer himself.
    • "Under the Rose" contains the phrase "I'm burning in water and drowning in flame", based on the title of a collection of the works of Charles Bukowski.
    • "The Funeral of Hearts" homages Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, i.e. "The flowers of evil" spoken of in the chorus.
    • Their unreleased demo Witches and Other Night Fears bears the same name as an essay by Charles Lamb, which "concerns the relationship between dream, the imagination and creativity" according to the British Library.
    • Definitely not one the band made for themselves: A copy-protected promo of Venus Doom listed the artist as Walter Payton, the late running back for the Chicago Bears. Listing them as such was likely a tactic to hide the band's identity from shifty promoters until the album could be released properly without risk of leaking it early; an album from an unknown and unproven artist is worth far less than one from a proven band like HIM, so no one's going to bother leaking an unreleased album if the artist's name is one nobody's heard of before. A similar tactic was undertaken for Dark Light, but for that album they were called Harry Hits Parade, which may not be a shout-out - if it is, who knows what it refers to?
  • 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.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Depending on the song, they may play this straight or even outright deconstruct it. Some songs are straightforward, if flowery, lovesongs (e.g. "For You"); others feature narrators that think this way but are plainly in situations that run contrary to that expectation (e.g. "The Face of God"); and others still just deconstruct this way of thinking (e.g. "Soul on Fire"). Their use of this trope is pretty much all over the map.
  • Title Track: HIM love to dance around this trope:
    • They invert it via "For You" which says, "In 666 ways I love you," which is based on the title of their debut EP despite it not having this song.
    • Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 doesn't have one, but 666 influences nearly everything on the album.
    • The closest they get on Razorblade Romance is with "Razorblade Kiss".
    • Skip a few records, and they FINALLY play it straight on both Dark Lightnote  and Venus Doom...
    • ...before Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice Chapters 1-13 receives only this much via "Katherine Wheel": "Love in Theory and Practice, Chapter One".
    • Then Tears on Tape plays it straight again to close out the band's career.
    • If Greatest Hits albums count, then "And Love Said No" is one too. Extra points for that album being the first ever to feature that song, unlike other greatest hits records that are typically named for the artist's biggest hit so far.
  • 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 latter a common occult symbol. 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).
    • The cover for the "Buried Alive by Love" single more or less shows an inverted pentagram merging with a heart.
    • 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".
    • He later designed another one by crossing a heart with a unicursal hexagram, also an occult symbol - 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.

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