o this week, I’ve decided to change things up a bit and write an unscheduled blog, upon only just finding out that one of my main inspirations in the music industry will be splitting up at the end of the year.
Last night, I found out that the band in question had already started their final tour back in June and following their final date on New Year’s Eve, the band will be no more.
They changed the face of Metal back in the 90s and made it more acceptable for bands to be emotionally vulnerable and write lyrics about love, while still being a heavy band, creating the genre, ‘Love Metal’.
The band formed in 1991 under the name His Infernal Majesty, but split for a short period in 1993. They reformed in 1995, now calling themselves, HIM, showcasing a heavier style of music in contrast to their earlier demos.
HIM’s first release came in the guise of the 4-Track release, 666 Ways to Love: Prologue EP (1996). The cover of Chris Isaak’s, ‘Wicked Game’, would feature on the following two releases. ‘Stigmata Diaboli’ and ‘The Heartless’ would both appear on the next release, the former would feature as a bonus track and the latter would be released as a shortened version of the EP’s 7 minute and 25 second epic.
Just over a year later, they released their debut album, Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 (1997). ‘Wicked Game’ (1998) was released as a single, although the song has three music videos – one from 1996, one from 1998 and one from 2000 – and also features on HIM’s first three releases. This is the only release that spawned a single, despite all releases generating a music video.
The year 2000 was a great year. I started the year aged 15 and HIM started their year with their sophomore album, Razorblade Romance (2000) – the first album I listened to and owned by them. I was hooked on this album and it kind of made it acceptable in a sense to create music the way they did, layering heavy riffs over what would fundamentally be considered Pop lyrics.
At the time, the collection of misfits I would associate myself with in high school, would hang out and write poetry in the book I’d bring to school, which would later manifest into songs. People would comment that the early works I created were good but odd as I wrote love songs essentially, but they didn’t go with Rock music… Looking at this band and knowing what I know, I laugh at how wrong they were.
After releasing their final single from their previous album, the band went straight back to the studio and the following summer saw the release of, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights (2001), their third studio album. This album for me felt a lot more sombre than their previous releases and I liked that contrast given the lyrical content of the band.
Their next album would prove to be my personal favourite, mixing Gothic Rock with Heavy Metal and progressive instrumentation with melodic and romantic Pop lyrics. This album would later be named Love Metal (2003). I was 18/19 years old during the release of this album and had adapted my writing style similar to that of the bands.
Their fifth studio album Dark Light (2005) appeared a lot more upbeat melodically and I feel it was a good album. It was released the day after my 21st birthday – I remember this as two days before, I celebrated by watching Super Furry Animals in Port Talbot, supported by El Goodo and Goldie Looking Chain – and apart from the singles, I didn’t really like the album. But after constantly overplaying the album, I was hooked.
In 2007, I was just finishing my first year of my A Levels before the summer. I also started working nights after the summer at a bar in Cardiff called Varsity. I worked nights and weekends as I’d gone back to college to finish my second year of A Levels. This was the year I decided that music is love, music is life, thus challenging my own interests becoming more experimental.
During the same year, HIM released their sixth studio album Venus Doom (2007). The album is one of their heaviest to date and deals with his break-up from his then fiancé. Surrounding the album, he also dealt with rehab and a nervous breakdown. This is my second favourite album after Love Metal.
Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Chapters 1-13 (2010), was the first album Ville Valo worked on completely sober following his completion with rehab. He wanted to prove himself to his band so he’d arranged a lot of rehearsals but in doing so, the band suffered from exhaustion.
Tears on Tape (2013) is the eighth and final studio album. The band have toured every year since 2013 but haven’t released any new material. I only found out a few nights ago that this would be their last album and that they’d do one last tour, as the band were splitting up. Upon further research, I found that the tour had started back in June this year and the final date will be New Year’s Eve in the city of Helsinki, Finland, where the band was formed.
To wrap things up I’d just like to say that I hope the band reforms in the future, but until then I’ll enjoy the music they’ve released and the career that they’ve had. Their legacy will remain strong where their fans are concerned and as I’m one of them, I can vouch for that.
Please enjoy the following video which is one of my favourite songs, ‘Buried Alive by Love’ taken from the Love Metal album.