HIM (Finnish band)

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HIM Wiltern 2010.jpg
HIM performing in 2010
Background information
Also known as His Infernal Majesty[1]
Origin Helsinki, Finland
Genres See genre
Years active 1991–present
Labels Sire Records
Associated acts
Past members
  • Mika Karppinen
  • Juippi
  • Juha Tarvonen
  • Oki
  • Antto Melasniemi
  • Juhana Tuomas Rantala
  • Sergei Ovalov
  • Jussi-Mikko Salminen

HIM is a Finnish rock band from Helsinki. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström, and bassist Mikko "Migé" Paananen,[2] HIM's current lineup consists of Valo, Linde, Migé,Janne "Emerson Burton" Puurtinen on keyboards and Jukka Kroger on drums. They have released eight studio albums to date; their latest, titled Tears on Tape, was released April 26, 2013. On September 5, 2006, HIM's fifth studio album Dark Light was certified gold by the RIAA, making HIM the first Finnish band to have a gold album in the United States.[3] HIM had five of their studio albums certified platinum in Finland with Razorblade Romance being certified double platinum in Finland and platinum in Germany.[4]


666 Ways to Love (1991–1997)

As His Infernal Majesty, the band recorded 3 demos and one EP; only 2 of the demos and the EP were released. Their first demo, 'Witches and Other Night Fears' was recorded in 1992, the sole copy of which is rumoured to reside with Valo. His Infernal Majesty then released Demo Tape 1 in 1993 and Demo Tape 2 in 1995; these two demos have been named by fans as 'This Is Only The Beginning'. Their debut EP, 666 Ways to Love: Prologue, was released in 1996 solely in Finland, with only 1,000 copies printed. It was produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, and was recorded at Finnvox Studios, MD and Peacemakers, Helsinki. Later in their career it was re-released as a vinyl record by The End Records in the box set "lashes to ashes, lust to dust". However it was in the diehard bundle once again making it limited to only 2,000 copies. The woman on the cover is Valo's mother, who (according to an interview with Valo) worked in a shoe shop at the time.[5]

Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 (1997–1999)

HIM's original name logo, used from 1997-2006, 2012-present

HIM released their first full-length studio album, Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666, on November 20, 1997. It features covers of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". Four singles were released from the album, which was also produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa. Like the EP 666 Ways to Love: Prologue, the album was recorded at Finnvox, MD and Peacemakers in Helsinki, Finland. Guest vocals were provided by Sanna-June Hyde, and Asta Hannula on "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "For You", respectively. A digipak version was released in Finland, with the song "For You" moved to the first track. A special edition was released in Germany with the bonus track "Stigmata Diaboli", taken from 666 Ways to Love: Prologue. In keeping with the theme of 666, the album's length is 66:06 and contains a total of 66 tracks (56 of which are blank). There is another track which starts at 6 minutes into the 66th track; it is the outro of "The Heartless" from 666 Ways to Love: Prologue. The track is called "HIM 666", or alternatively "666" or "Dark Circle". This album is also the only HIM album so far to have hidden bonus tracks. Although sometimes perceived to have Satan-worshiping references, Valo has stated that the album was never affiliated with these things.[citation needed]

Razorblade Romance (1999–2001)

After gaining popularity in Europe, particularly in their homeland, HIM released its second album on December 19, 1999, entitled Razorblade Romance. During this time, the band's popularity began to increase, with their single "Join Me in Death" from the album reached No. 1 on the German music charts, selling over 500,000 of this single in two months. "Join Me in Death" was used as the soundtrack of the European version of the science fiction movie The Thirteenth Floor, which brought the song to further popularity worldwide. "Join Me in Death" is the best-selling Finnish single in history.

Following increasing success in Germany, they released two more Germany-only singles from this album: "Right Here in My Arms" and "Gone with the Sin", which reached No. 20 and No. 19 on the charts respectively. Around this time, the band's popularity began to spread in Europe, including the United Kingdom. The album reached No. 1 in both Germany and their native Finland.

In 2002, Razorblade Romance was released in the United States, though HIM was unable to release it under their name due to the American band, HiM, owning the rights to that name in the U.S. As a result, they changed their name to HER in the United States. Eventually, they were able to buy the full rights to the name HIM, and copies of the album began to be manufactured with their desired name on the packaging. Only 1,000 copies of the album exist with the HER band name, which makes it a rare collectible among fans.

The original working title for Razorblade Romance was Gotham Roll and a demo or properly recorded song from this session leaked onto the Internet (in the midst of 2004), titled "Too Happy to Be Alive". A drum machine was used for this particular session due to Pätkä leaving the band.

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights (2001–2003)

During 2001, before the group's third release, the members of HIM formed a new band, Daniel Lioneye. This was intended as a solo project of guitarist Linde, who took on the vocal spot and the stage name Daniel Lioneye for it. Migé Amour played bass, Ville Valo was on drums, with Hiili on keyboards, and Ike on sound effects. They released two albums, The King of Rock'n Roll in September 2001, and Vol. II in April 2010. Although it was not a commercial success, it retains a cult following.

After the Daniel Lioneye project, HIM released Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights on August 27, 2001. It is the band's first album with new keyboardist Emerson Burton, the final addition to the lineup that composed the band for most of their career until drummer Mika Karppinen left in 2015. Once again, the album peaked at No. 1 in their Finnish homeland, and also reached No. 2 in Germany. Three singles were released from the album: "Pretending" (which reached No. 10 in Germany), "In Joy and Sorrow" and a double single featuring both "Heartache Every Moment" and "Close to the Flame". Such success further facilitated their gradual emergence into the mainstream. As with Razorblade Romance, there were problems naming the album.[citation needed] It was meant to be called 'Ozzymandias Dargunum' and it would contain 14 tracks.[citation needed] The demos were recorded in 2000 in Hollola.[citation needed] In November 2001 total sales were nearly 400,000.[citation needed]

Love Metal (2003–2005)

On April 14, 2003, HIM released Love Metal. This was the first album that did not feature singer/songwriter Ville Valo on the cover. Instead, it features a gold heartagram, the band's well-known logo. "The Funeral of Hearts" was the first single released and their first high appearance on the United Kingdom charts at No. 14, and also hitting No. 3 in Germany. It was followed by "Buried Alive By Love" and "The Sacrament". "The Sacrament" was used as the ending for the anime film Highlander: The Search for Vengeance.

Around the time of the album's release, HIM began experiencing further success in both the U.S. and internationally, when professional skateboarder and TV personality Bam Margera began using the band's heartagram logo and promoting them extensively on his MTV series Viva La Bam. Margera produced their video for "Buried Alive By Love", which featured a guest appearance from Natural Born Killers actress Juliette Lewis. They played at Download Festival in 2003 on the second stage with The Hellacopters, the following year they would go on to headline the same stage. Love Metal was performed in its entirety on March 8, 2003 in Hamburg's Grosse Freiheit Club, a month before the album's release on April 14. The only track that was not performed was "Love's Requiem", which was only included in digipak versions of the album. The tickets were available for sale on the band's official website and sold out within a few days. Ville had the initial idea for making this a gift to their fans. The show has been included in unofficial video and audio bootlegs under the name Buried Alive or Love Metal Live.

And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004, the band's first compilation album, was released on March 15, 2004, and contains two exclusive tracks: "And Love Said No" and "Solitary Man", the latter of which is a Neil Diamond cover. It also had a re-recorded version of "When Love and Death Embrace", while the British version contained a re-recorded "It's All Tears (Drown in This Love)". The digipak version of this album came with a DVD with six live songs at the Semifinal Club in Helsinki. There is also a Promo version of the album that is very rare and not well known among fans and collectors. Only about 500 copies were made. It is the full album with some videos on the disc and an extra untitled instrumental track. It was distributed among several radio stations internationally, and also given to a small number of fans with backstage passes to one of the concerts that took place shortly after the release of the CD. It has the same disc art as the normal album with a few minor differences and came in a black-backed CD-rom case.

Dark Light (2005–2007)

HIM released their fifth studio album, Dark Light, on September 26, 2005. It became the band's full breakthrough in the U.S., debuting in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 and spawning two major hits, "Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly" and "Killing Loneliness", both of which have accompanying videos. Kat Von D appears in the video for "Killing Loneliness" tattooing the eyes of Edgar Allan Poe that Ville Valo has on his back as well as throughout in small glimpses of foreshadowing. In the summer of 2005, they played the mainstage of Download Festival with Black Sabbath and Velvet Revolver.

The success of Dark Light has also allowed a number of HIM's previous albums (including Love Metal) to chart in the United States. In October 2006, the band's official website announced that Dark Light had been certified Gold in the U.S. by the RIAA. This made HIM the first band from Finland to sell over 500,000 records in the U.S.

During their tour to promote Dark Light, Mige and Burton wrote a song together called "Plasma Mullet" that is completely different from their other work and is not on any official release of the band. The only time it has been released to the public is when it was played on skateboarder Bam Margera's half-hour radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio or at various concerts after their performance. Margera refers to it as their "jokey song".

In 2006/2007, HIM released its second and third compilation albums titled Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 and Uneasy Listening Vol. 2, respectively.

Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 was released in 2006 on October 27 in Germany, October 30 in the United Kingdom and November 14 in the United States. The compilation contains 15 alternate versions of HIM's lighter songs such as "In Joy and Sorrow", "The Sacrament", "Gone with the Sin", and "One Last Time". An acoustic version of "Pretending" can be found on the single for the string version of "In Joy and Sorrow".

Uneasy Listening Vol. 2 was released in 2007 on April 20 in Germany, April 24 and 25 in the rest of Europe, 22 May in the United States and 25 May in Australia. It contains 14 rare alternate tracks, which exemplify HIM's heavier side. These include the Black Sabbath cover "Hand of Doom", a remix of "Sigillum Diaboli", a live version of "Right Here in My Arms", and a remix of their Turbonegro cover of "Rendezvous with Anus". It also contains the much sought-after version of "Buried Alive By Love", which only originally appeared on the CKY4: The Latest and The Greatest DVD. "Right Here in My Arms" was featured on Bam's Unholy Union.

Venus Doom (2007–2009)

File:HIM logo 2007-2009.jpg
A variation of HIM's name logo, used from 2007 – 2009

Venus Doom was released on September 14, 2007 in Finland, Ireland and Germany, September 17, 2007 internationally and September 18, 2007 in the U.S. At the Give It a Name Festival '07, HIM played one of the new songs, "Dead Lovers' Lane". In an interview with The Gauntlet,[6] Venus Doom is mostly guitar-oriented with a pronounced lack of keyboards. The song "Passion's Killing Floor" is on the Transformers soundtrack. The first single was "The Kiss of Dawn", which has become a staple in most of their live performances, as well as "Passion's Killing Floor", "Dead Lovers' Lane" and the epic "Sleepwalking Past Hope". The video for "The Kiss of Dawn" written and directed by Meiert Avis, debuted in the UK on Scuzz TV on August 10, 2007. The next single from Venus Doom was "Bleed Well". The lo-fi black and white video for "Bleed Well" was shot by Meiert Avis at sound check at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles November 15, 2007. In support of the new album, HIM toured North America with Bleeding Through in the fall of '07. At the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, Matt Taylor and Ville Valo of HIM were nominated for Best Boxed/Special Limited Edition packaging for Venus Doom; however, it lost to What It Is!: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967–1977) (performed by various artists with artwork by Masaki Koike).[7]

Digital Versatile Doom, HIM's first official live DVD/CD, was scheduled to release on April 1, 2008, but was pushed back until April 29. It features a live performance from The Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, as well as behind the scenes look at the show. Also featured on the DVD, the winner of HIM's biggest fans competition go to Seattle to meet the band. A special edition was available for pre-order on February 1, 2008, which came with a limited edition 6"×4" numbered flipbook. The imagery is from HIM's live performance of "Sleepwalking Past Hope" at that concert.[8]

Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, Chapters 1–13 (2009–2011)

A variation of HIM's latest name logo, used from 2010 – present
Ville Valo 2001

On June 9, 2009, HIM announced in a phone interview with Euro-Rock Radio that they would be recording their new album in August 2009 with producer Matt Squire in Los Angeles, California. The title of the album is Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice. The recording of the album began on August 3, 2009 and finished on October 8, 2009. On November 22, lead singer Ville Valo's birthday, the album art was released on the band's website.[9]

The album was released February 8, 2010 in the United Kingdom and France and February 9 in the United States. It was also released on February 10 in Japan and on February 12 in Germany. Their first single from the album, "Heartkiller", was released December 8, 2009 as a digital download and on February 5, 2010 as a CD single.

In an interview speaking about the song "Scared to Death", Ville says one of the working titles they first had for Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice came from a lyric in the song "Scared to Death", which is "Pickup Lines from Hell", but he said they didn't use that as it felt too jokey and cartoonish.

Due to the uproar and requests from fans, Harmonix has released downloadable content for the game Rock Band from HIM as the "HIM Pack 01", featuring "Ode to Solitude", "Wings of a Butterfly", and the new single "Heartkiller". Of those songs, only "Wings of a Butterfly" did not come from Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice.[10] The group also took part in the Game with Fame promotion on Xbox Live to promote their new album on March 25.[11]

The official remix album for Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, SWRMXS, featuring songs from Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice as remixed by artists such as Tiësto, Morgan Page, and Gavin Russom, was released on December 7, 2010. The album is available online on iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers, but the physical album is available exclusively at Hot Topic stores in the U.S.. A special edition of the album including a new HIM shirt featuring the new album cover was available for pre-order.[12]

In 2011, HIM and Sire/Warner records parted ways. HIM's manager, Seppo, assured fans that the band is still alive and well and stated that details on future plans as well as a possible new label will be announced in the summer of 2011.[13]

Shortly after, HIM announced that they are currently working on a follow-up to 2010's Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice,[14] but the work has been interrupted due to a rare condition afflicting drummer Gas Lipstick.[15]

Tears on Tape (2012–14)

In the February 15, 2012 issue of Kerrang! magazine[16] Ville stated in regards to a possible record label, "I'd like the album to be released on Rise Above Records (the cult, underground doom metal label owned by Cathedral singer Lee Dorrian), I think that would be great." He also stated that the band's sound will be returning to its roots.

Tim Palmer, who produced previous albums Dark Light and Venus Doom, announced via his official Twitter account (@TimPalmerMixer) on August 16, 2012 that he is "excited to report that I am off to London in November to work, once again with the mighty HIM. Stay Tuned.".[17]

HIM released a new compilation album on November 6, 2012 titled XX – Two Decades of Love Metal, featuring an exclusive single titled "Strange World", that was released digitally on September 10, 2012 originally by the artist .[18][19][20][21]

On August 18, it was confirmed by Ville Valo on the band's official Facebook that "We're also entering the studio in early September with the producer Hiili Hiilesmaa to work on our eighth full-length album, Tears on Tape, to be mixed by Tim Palmer and released early 2013....".[22]

In an interview with examiner.com on October 22, 2012, Valo stated in regards to Tears on Tape that the album would be released "...next year sometime probably in March or April" of 2013.[23] On December 8, 2012, Tim Palmer tweeted "it is done".[24] On December 26, 2012 at the Turku Club, the band premiered a new song entitled "I Will Be the End of You".

Tears on Tape was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland by DoubleCross, Europe and Asia by Universal Records, and United States by Razor & Tie.[25][26][27]

The band released their second vinyl box set, Lashes to Ashes, Lust to Dust: A Vinyl Retrospective '96-'03, on November 25, 2014, as well as dual-disc remastered editions of their first four albums.[28] The band went on a UK and United States tour to promote the release.

Recent work

On January 27, 2015, drummer Mika Karppinen announced his departure from the band via Facebook.[29] He was replaced by Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger.

In an interview with MDR JUMP on August 5, Valo stated that the band will be working on new material for an album, with a possible release date of December 2016.[30][31]


HIM's genre is debated. Critics have referred to them as gothic rock,[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44] gothic metal,[45][46][47][48][49] alternative rock,[34][50][51][52] alternative metal,[53] dark rock,[33][54][55] and melodic heavy metal.[56][57]

On their album Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, it says their genre is "alternative", but their musical style is also often referred to as "love metal" by Valo[citation needed] and by the group's fans. Valo has stated that the band started as a "Black Sabbath tribute band of sorts".[58] Some of Valo's biggest influences include The Doors,[59] The Stooges,[60] Fields of the Nephilim,[32] Black Sabbath, Neil Young, and Led Zeppelin.[61]

In addition to "love metal", other self-described terms applied to the band by its members as well as journalists include "Goth 'n roll" and "Scandinavian blues".[38][62]


HIM in concert, with a heartagram-shaped light shining on the stage

The heartagram is the trademarked symbol of HIM, created by Ville Valo on his twentieth birthday. Valo has stated that the heartagram is a "Modern Yin Yang", and is meant to represent the juxtaposition of 'good and evil', 'light and dark', and 'love and death'.

HIM have used the heartagram on the cover of their albums Love Metal, Dark Light, Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, XX – Two Decades of Love Metal and Tears on Tape. Valo has said that "the heartagram stands for HIM as a band, as an entity, and for 'love metal' in general."[63] Many fans of the band have heartagram tattoos, or tattoos of other HIM emblems — such as the single heart on Valo's right wrist, and a number of fan-submitted photos of same decorated the lyric booklet for the limited edition of Dark Light.

Ville Valo has allowed his close friend, Jackass star, actor, and professional skateboarder Bam Margera to use the heartagram image and Margera has accordingly used it for his promotional purposes, including using it on his Adio shoes and Element skateboards. Because of this usage, the symbol is often thought to belong solely to Margera. However, Valo stated in a 2014 LoudWire interview that there are no licensing rights on the Heartagram; however, it is trademarked. Valo stated, "It's trademarked, but if somebody wants to get a tattoo or make a t-shirt of [the heartagram] that's okay, but if somebody is selling t-shirts and making money out of it, that's infringement." He continued to say, "the Heartagram might be the best thing I've ever come up with."[5] Other well-known individuals have also received a tattoo of the logo such as Kat Von D and Kelly Osbourne. According to Valo, the band have become better known for their logo than their music.

A heartagram appears at the end of the music video for the song "DARE" by the band Gorillaz, where Murdoc wakes up, on the wall to the left hand side. It was also parodied, as the "horseagram"—a combination of a horse shoe and a pentagram—in the episode "Ode to Sue" of the video game comedy troupe Mega64. During the filming of Jackass Number Two, cast member Steve-O got a parody tattoo of a heartagram called a "Dickagram", where the lowest point of the inverted pentagram is shaped like a penis.[64] The heartagram was also shown in a couple of episodes in Season 8 of The WB's Charmed as a demonic symbol[65] and in an episode of Criminal Minds as a heartagram necklace.[66]

Name origin and confusion

The band's original name was His Infernal Majesty, which was taken from The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey.[38][67][68] The name was also influenced by a Deicide song, as well as the reggae song "His Imperial Majesty." [69] HIM, formerly 'His Infernal Majesty', is not to be confused with Infernäl Mäjesty, a Canadian thrash metal band, HiM, an American post-rock band, or 4Him, a Contemporary Christian group. The band changed the name to HIM from the "Wicked Game" single onwards, though the single for "Your Sweet Six Six Six" includes a 'His Infernal Majesty' sticker. Their second studio album, Razorblade Romance, was released under the name HER in the United States because the Chicago-based post-rock band named HiM held the trademark on the name. His Infernal Majesty eventually bought the rights to the name "HIM" in the United States and used it worldwide from there on.


Band members

Lead vocalist for HIM, Ville Valo
Current members
Former members
  • Juha Tarvonen – drums (1991–1992)
  • Juippi – drums (1991–1992)
  • Oki – rhythm guitar (1991–1992, 1995–1996)
  • Antto Melasniemi – keyboards (1995–1997)
  • Juhana Tuomas "Pätkä" Rantala – drums (1995–1999)
  • Jussi-Mikko "Juska" Salminen – keyboards (1998–2000)
  • Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen – drums (1999–2015)


See also


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  46. Essi Berelian's "Rough Guide to Heavy Metal", p. 156, "A chilling and dramatic breakthrough album featuring...an extremely catchy set of commercial goth-metal tunes"
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  64. Video snippet from Jackass 2 showing Steve-O being tattoed with the dickagram[dead link]
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  67. http://www.buzznet.com/groups/sweetpandemonium/journals/76713381/
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External links