HIM (His Infernal Majesty) are an alternative metal band from Helsinki, Finland. The band describes their music as ‘love metal’. The current line-up consists of: Ville Valo – lead vocals, Mikko Lindstrom – lead guitar, Mikko Paananen – bass guitar & backing vocals, Janne Puurtinen – keyboard & backing vocals, Mika Karppinen – drums & percussion.
HIM released their debut album Greatest Love Songs Vol.666 in1997 and have since gone on to produce 6 more albums, the latest being Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, based on Ville Valo’s experiences of falling in love. Recording began on 3rd August 2009 and it was released on 8th February 2010 here in the UK.
This album shows a return to the more familiar style of the earlier Razorblade Romance and Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights albums. Although delightfully melancholy it still manages to remain very catchy and slightly poppy while still being full of Ville’s trademark emotional vocals and lyrics. It’s definitely the most commercial album they have ever produced.
The lead single from Screamworks, Heartkiller, was released in December ’09 as a digital download, whetting the taste buds of fans, then released in “hard” format in February the week before the album. It really sets the tone for the whole album with its radio-friendly melodic feel.
The second single from the album, Scared to Death, is one of the more poppy songs, full of positive lyrics and an upbeat tempo. Katherine Wheel is definitely reminiscent of earlier singles such as Right Here in My Arms and In Joy and Sorrow but with a new edgy twist. Disarm Me (With Your Loneliness) stands out as being a beautiful ballad with a brilliant guitar solo, and a sing along chorus that’s bound to be a hit during live shows.
February 25th 2010 was the release date for three HIM singles on Rock Band: Heartkiller and Ode to Solitude from their new album, and the old favourite Wings of a Butterfly from Dark Light. On 25th March the band asked fans to film themselves performing ‘Heartkiller’ and to upload it to HIM’s YouTube channel in an attempt to set the record for the largest global Rock Band performance.
HIM also have a side project band called Daniel Lioneye, formed in 2001. This consists of several HIM members including Lindstrom, Paananen, Puurtinen and Valo. They are due to release their second album ‘Vol II’ on 27th April and is said to be heavier than their debut and influenced a lot by black metal, a completely different style to the easy listening HIM.
HIM are currently touring the United States and Canada with a return to the UK in June for Download Festival, playing alongside bands such as Stone Sour, 30 Seconds to Mars, Bullet For My Valentine and A Day to Remember.
Overall the album has taken a very Americanised direction, with punky riffs, catchy guitar solos and upbeat vocals. With a mixture of crooning for the emo generation and heartfelt screaming this album has completely moved away from the harsher, heavier Venus Doom to something more melancholy and accessible. This album will not fail to attract new fans whilst still pleasing the established fan base.
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