Rahul Sharma (Editor)

HIM (Finnish band)

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Origin  Helsinki, Finland
Associated acts  Daniel Lioneye
HIM (Finnish band) metalbabemayhemcomwpcontentuploads201501him
Also known as  His Infernal Majesty, HER
Years active  1991–1993, 1995–present
Past members  Sami "Juippi" JokilehtoJuha TarvonenOkiAntto MelasniemiJuhana "Pätkä" RantalaJussi-Mikko "Juska" SalminenMika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen
Members  Ville Valo, Mige, Mikko Lindström, Mika Karppinen
Genres  gothic rock, gothic metal, alternative rock, alternative metal, Dark rock
Record labels  Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sire Records, Razor & Tie, BMG, Warner Bros. Records, Cooking Vinyl
Albums  Love Metal, Razorblade Romance, Tears on Tape, Dark Light, Venus Doom


HIM (previously known as HER in the United States) is a rock/metal band from Helsinki, Finland. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo and bassist Mikko "Mige" Paananen under the name His Infernal Majesty, the band broke up in 1993, but was reformed in 1995 by Valo and guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström. After being rejoined by Mige, as well as keyboardist Antto Melasniemi and drummer Juhana "Pätkä" Rantala, the band, now called HIM, released their debut album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 in 1997. In 2000, now with drummer Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen and keyboardist Juska Salminen, the band released the album Razorblade Romance, which reached the number-one spot in Finland, Austria and Germany. Its first single, "Join Me in Death", also charted at number-one in Finland and Germany, eventually going platinum in their home country. Following the addition of Janne "Burton" Puurtinen on keyboards, HIM released Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights and Love Metal in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Both cracked the top ten in several countries, with latter being the band's first album to chart in the UK.


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After relocating to Los Angeles, HIM released Dark Light in 2005, which became the group's most successful album to date, cracking the top ten in five countries. With Dark Light, HIM also became the first Finnish group to receive a gold album in the United States. Dark Light was followed by Venus Doom in 2007, the making of which was marred by problems in Valo's personal life. Despite this, the album gave the band their highest chart position in the US at number 12. After 2010's Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, HIM went on hiatus as drummer Gas Lipstick took medical leave. Following several months of uncertainty, the band regrouped and eventually released the album Tears on Tape in 2013. In 2015, Gas Lipstick announced his departure from the band to pursue other musical projects; he was replaced by Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger. On March 5, 2017, HIM announced that the band would be disbanding following a farewell tour in 2017.

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HIM is internationally one of the most commercially successful Finnish bands of all time, with seven platinum and over ten gold albums, and sales of over six million records. The band have released eight studio albums, six compilations, three video releases, along with one live and one remix album. HIM's music and their logo, the heartagram, have also appeared in several films and TV series, such as The Thirteenth Floor, Transformers, Viva La Bam and LA Ink.

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Early years (1991–1996)

The first incarnation of HIM was formed in 1991 by Ville Valo and Mikko "Mige" Paananen in Helsinki, Finland. Both Valo and Mige played bass, while drummers Sami "Juippi" Jokilehto and Juha Tarvonen rounded out the initial line-up. Originally called His Infernal Majesty, other names considered for the band included Black Earth, Black Salem and Kaffer. His Infernal Majesty fell apart however, when Mige began his national military service in 1993. After a few years of inactivity, His Infernal Majesty was reformed by Valo and guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström. Together they recorded a four-track demo, where Valo played drums and sang, while Linde handled guitar and bass. Soon thereafter, Mige rejoined the newly reformed His Infernal Majesty, as did drummer Juhana "Pätkä" Rantala. After several more demos, the band were signed to BMG by A&R executive Asko Kallonen, after hearing their cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game".

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In 1996, the band, now called HIM, completed the EP 666 Ways to Love: Prologue, with Valo on vocals, Mige on bass, Linde on guitar, and Pätkä on drums, as well as another guitarist named Oki, who was let go from the band before the EP's release. Produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, 666 Ways to Love: Prologue was released in October 1996, debuting at number 16 on the Finnish Singles Chart, peaking at number 9 five weeks later. A music video, the band's first, was also shot for "Wicked Game".

Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 and Razorblade Romance (1997–2000)

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On November 20, 1997, the band, now with keyboardist Antto Melasniemi, released their debut album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, which was once again produced by Hiilesmaa. The album peaked at number 4 in Finland, while "When Love and Death Embrace" and "Your Sweet 666" also made the Finnish Singles Chart, both cracking the top ten, with the latter also receiving a music video. A new music video for "Wicked Game" was also produced in Germany. Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 received positive reviews from critics, with Antti J. Ravelin of AllMusic stating that the album "combines metal with '80s rock and some goth influences, and the album as a whole has a very diverse sound." He concluded by saying "Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666 succeeds in pleasing everyone, whether they're into rock or pop." Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 would eventually go gold and later platinum in Finland. The band went on to also win "Best Newcomer" and "Best Debut Album" at the 1997 Finnish Emma Awards.

Prior HIM's first international tour, keyboardist Antto Melasniemi was replaced by Jussi-Mikko "Juska" Salminen. However, rehearsals with Salminen proved to be difficult, and Melasniemi was asked to rejoin for the duration of the band's German tour. After returning to Finland, HIM fired Pätkä and replaced him with Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen. In January 1999, HIM began work on their follow-up to Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666, once again with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. These sessions proved to be unsuccessful however, and the band relocated to Rockfield, Wales with producer John Fryer to begin work on what would become Razorblade Romance. In November 1999, HIM released the single "Join Me in Death", which peaked at number 1 in Finland and Germany, number 2 in Austria, and number 8 in Switzerland, among others. Two music videos were also produced for the single, one of which featured scenes from the film The Thirteenth Floor, in which the song was also included. "Join Me in Death" would eventually go platinum in Finland. HIM later appeared on the German edition of Top of the Pops promoting the single. Also in 1999, HIM appeared in the music video for the song "Hunningolla" by Neljä Ruusua, as well as were awarded "Best International Band" at the Emma Awards.

Razorblade Romance was released on January 24, 2000, peaking at number 1 in Finland, Austria and Germany, number 8 in Switzerland, and at number 78 in the Netherlands. The album eventually went double platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany, and gold in Austria. Four further singles were released from the album, all of which reached the Top 5 on the Finnish Singles Chart. All singles also received music videos, with two being produced for "Gone with the Sin", while another was filmed for "Wicked Game", this time in England. Razorblade Romance was mostly well received by critics. Soundi gave the album four out of five stars, while Borivoj Krgin of Blabbermouth.net called it "yet another amazingly crafted album from Europe's best-kept secret." Antti J. Ravelin was mixed in his review for AllMusic, calling the album over-produced, but still commending the material. Nevertheless, HIM were awarded "Band of the Year", and "Album of the Year" for Razorblade Romance, at the 2000 Emma Awards. During the supporting tour for Razorblade Romance, HIM played their first shows in the United Kingdom, starting at The Garage in London.

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights and Love Metal (2001–2004)

Following Razorblade Romance, HIM spent eleven months recording the follow-up album, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, with producers T.T. Oksala and Kevin Shirley. Keyboardist Juska Salminen was also replaced by Janne "Burton" Puurtinen during this time. The album's recording process was plagued with difficulties, with Ville Valo citing outside influences within the industry, and the extended recording process having too big of an effect on the material. He explained, stating "We'd start out with a song that sounded kind of like Queens of the Stone Age-y, and it turn out sounding like something totally different eleven months later, because you were just so bored of the song already." Despite these problems, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was released on August 24, 2001, peaking at number 1 in Finland and Austria, and at number 2 in Germany and Switzerland, later going platinum in Finland and gold in Austria. Three singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top five in Finland. and received music videos. Also in 2001, HIM were featured on the Turbonegro-tribute album Alpha Motherfuckers, performing the song "Rendezvous with Anus".

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights received mixed to Negative reviews, with AllMusic calling it "way too clean" and "utterly boring". Tero Alanko of Soundi echoed this, saying that the album is "ideal music for girls, who don't dig the music, but Ville Valo's looks and his lyrics' decadent imagery." Borivoj Krgin however was more positive in his review, stating that "In purely artistic and commercial terms [...] H.I.M. have made the logical follow-up album to one of last year's highlights, and they continue to cement their reputation as one of the most unique and consistent rock acts around." HIM were once again named "Best International Band" at the 2001 Emma Awards. In 2002, HIM were involved in dispute over the rights to their name in the United States, as the moniker "HIM" was already owned by a drummer from a Chicago jazz fusion band of the same name. This meant that HIM was renamed HER in the US, until a settlement was eventually reached between the two parties, which allowed both to retain the name "HIM". On October 7, 2002, HIM released The Single Collection, a set containing all of the band's singles, as well as a previously unreleased single of "It's All Tears". Also in October 2002, HIM released their official biography Synnin viemää, written by Juha K. Juntunen.

The supporting tour for Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights saw the band playing the United States for the first time; a one-off show organized by professional skateboarder and television personality Bam Margera. Valo later credited the tour for bringing the band closer together, which culminated in their fourth album, entitled Love Metal. The album saw HIM once again working with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa, and was viewed by the band as a reaction to the difficulties they faced during Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights. According to Valo: "After what we considered a disappointment with Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, because there were so many chefs in the kitchen, we wanted to be a band [...] that we control what we do, and everybody else can fuck-off." Love Metal was also the first album to feature the band's logo, the heartagram, on its cover, which Valo called "a statement of intent [...] musically, visually and ideologically."

Love Metal was released on April 14, 2003, and reached the top five in four countries, peaking at number 1 in Finland and Germany. It also became the band's first album to chart in the UK, at number 55. The album also went platinum in Finland and gold in Germany. Three singles were released, with "The Funeral of Hearts" peaking at number 1 in Finland, number 5 in Germany, and number 15 in the UK. Music videos for all three were produced, two of which, "Buried Alive by Love" and "The Sacrament", were directed by Bam Margera. The former of the two also featured American actress Juliette Lewis. "The Funeral of Hearts" was also awarded "Best Video" at the 2004 Kerrang! Awards. Love Metal was also well received by critics, with Petri Silas of Soundi giving it three out of five stars, while Rob Theakston stated that "The songwriting is as strong as it has been in quite some time and a newly found sense of urgency keeps the record going at a well-tempered pace."

Following the release of Love Metal, HIM began their first tour of the US, which was entirely sold-out. In August 2003, HIM parted ways with BMG after fulfilling their contractual obligations to the label. Also in 2003, HIM were planning on releasing a live album, tentatively titled Live Metal, but plans for the album were later abandoned, in favor of starting work on new material. In 2004, HIM released And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004, which peaked at number 2 in Finland, number 5 in Germany, number 9 in Austria, and number 30 in the UK, later going platinum in Finland. Aside from previously released tracks, the collection also included two new songs, "And Love Said No", and a cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man". Both were given music videos, with Bam Margera once again directing. "Solitary Man" peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart and number 2 on the Finnish Singles Chart, while "And Love Said No" peaked at number 1 in Finland. In September 2004, HIM announced they had signed a worldwide recording deal with Sire Records. In Finland however, the band's future albums would be released through HIM's own Heartagram-label. On December 7, 2004, HIM released The Video Collection: 1997–2003, a collection of the band's music videos.

Dark Light and Venus Doom (2005–2008)

On January 17, 2005, HIM, along with The Rasmus, The 69 Eyes, Apocalyptica and Negative, performed at the Yhteinen ASIA -benefit concert for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Soon thereafter HIM relocated to Los Angeles to begin work on their fifth studio album with producer Tim Palmer. Also in January 2005, HIM were voted "Band of the Year" by the readers of Metal Hammer. March 2005, saw the premiere of Himmeetä valoa, a documentary based on HIM. In May 2005, HIM released Love Metal Archives Vol. I, a collection of music videos, live performances, interviews and other bonus material. The collection debuted at number 1 in Finland, and at number 2 and number 15 on the German DVD and Album Chart respectively. Love Metal Archives Vol. I would eventually go gold in Finland. On September 26, 2005, HIM released their fifth studio album Dark Light, which became the band's most successful album to date, going platinum in Finland, and gold in Germany, the UK, and the US. The album charted in the top ten in Finland, Austria, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Three music videos were also produced, one for "Wings of a Butterfly", and two for "Killing Loneliness", the latter of which featured American tattoo-artist and television personality Kat Von D. "Wings of a Butterfly" peaked at number 1 in Finland, and number 10 in the UK, while "Killing Loneliness" peaked at number 2 in Finland.

Dark Light received mixed reviews from critics. At Metacritic the album has received an average score of 52 out of 100, based on 10 reviews. Q Magazine called the album "a collection of irresistible pop-rock anthems", while NME called it "wimpy". AllMusic also called the album "glossy and user-friendly, H.I.M. are the gentler (if not kinder) side of devil worship." Despite this, Dark Light was later named "Best Rock Album" at 2005 Emma Awards, with "Wings of a Butterfly" also receiving the award for "Song of the Year". "Wings of a Butterfly" was also awarded at the 2007 BMI Pop Awards. On November 22, 2005, HIM were featured on the Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary live CD/DVD, performing the song "Soul on Fire". In January 2006, HIM were forced to postpone a tour of the UK and Ireland, after guitarist Linde Lindström fractured his wristbone after a concert on New Year's Eve. The following March, HIM embarked on their first Australian tour. In August 2006, HIM was nominated by Kerrang! for "Best Band on the Planet".

In September 2006, HIM cancelled a forthcoming North American tour, in order to begin work on a new album. In November 2006, HIM released Uneasy Listening Vol. 1, which featured various alternate versions of previously released material. The album peaked at number 7 in Finland, while the double single "In Joy and Sorrow / Pretending" also reached number 1. In February 2007, HIM began recording their sixth album at Finnvox Studios, reuniting with producers Hiili Hiilesmaa and Tim Palmer. The making-of the album was plagued with problems Valo was facing in his personal life. Among other things, Valo's alcohol consumption had worsened, with him reportedly vomiting and defecating blood at one point. All these issues came to a head, when Valo suffered a nervous breakdown during the recording process. According to Valo, he did manage to pull himself together, until the mixing stage, when he began drinking again. Eventually Valo was admitted to the Promises Rehabilitation Clinic in Malibu, by the band's manager Seppo Vesterinen. In April 2007, HIM released Uneasy Listening Vol. 2, which peaked at number 12 in Finland.

In May 2007, the band's upcoming album was pushed back from a previously announced July 10 release to September. From July 25 to September 3, 2007, HIM toured the US with Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution Tour, which included My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday and Placebo. Prior to the beginning of the tour, HIM held a contest for fans to win a trip to meet the band at tour's opening date in Seattle. The winners of the contest would also be featured on a forthcoming live DVD. HIM also played a number of concerts in the summer of 2007 opening for Metallica, including a show at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Venus Doom was eventually released on September 14, 2007, breaking the top ten in Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and later going gold in Finland and Germany. "The Kiss of Dawn" (which peaked at number 2 in Finland) and "Bleed Well" were released as singles, with both receiving music videos. The song "Passion's Killing Floor" was also featured on the soundtrack album of the 2007 film Transformers.

Venus Doom was well received by critics, with a score of 67 out of 100 at Metacritic. Spin called the album "[maybe] the year's heaviest, creepiest, and sexiest hard-rock group effort", while NME called it "an extremely well-executed pop-metal album." Jason Lymangrover of AllMusic, who gave the album three-and-a-half stars out of five, also felt that the album found the band "back on track and sounding more metal than ever." Venus Doom was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. In January 2008, HIM released Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 & 2, a set of both previously released Uneasy Listening -albums. During supporting tour for Venus Doom, HIM shot and recorded the live album Digital Versatile Doom at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, California. Released April 2008, the album peaked at number 10 in Finland.

Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice and Tears on Tape (2009–2014)

In 2009, HIM began work on their seventh studio album with producer Matt Squire. Titled Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, the album was the first that Ville Valo worked on completely sober, which resulted in the band rehearsing the material more than ever before. Released on February 8, 2010, Screamworks charted in ten countries, peaking at number 2 in Finland, number 4 in Germany, and at number 7 in Austria and Switzerland. Screamworks would later go gold in Finland. "Heartkiller" and "Scared to Death" were released as singles, with both receiving music videos, and "Heartkiller" charting at number 5 in Finland. Screamworks was once again mostly well received by critics, with a score of 61 out of 100 on Metacritic. Alternative Press called the album "ultimately successful in its blending of melody and muscle", while Billboard felt it was "A mixed bag, but an appealingly bold one." In 2010, HIM released SWRMXS, a remix album of Screamworks, done in collaboration with various different artists, such as Tiësto, Morgan Page and Salem.

In March 2011, HIM announced they had parted ways with Sire Records, leaving the band without a label. In the summer of 2011, the band began work on their eight studio album, but rehearsals were cut short after drummer Gas Lipstick was diagnosed with a repetitive stress injury and nerve damage in his hands. This left the band in limbo, unsure whether they would break-up or find a replacement for Gas. The band opted to wait and see if Gas' condition improved, and after eight months the band regrouped and resumed work on what would become Tears on Tape. Valo later credited Gas' recovery for revitalizing the band, after a period of uncertainty following his injury. In October 2012, HIM released the compilation album XX – Two Decades of Love Metal. Composed mostly of previously released material, the album featured one new track, a cover of Ké's "Strange World", which also received a music video. "Strange World" was originally scheduled to be released as a single on September 21, but the release was pushed up, due to an online leak. The album peaked at number 4 in Finland, with "Strange World" peaking at number 19.

During the 2012 edition of HIM's annual New Year's Eve -festival Helldone, HIM debuted the first new song from Tears on Tape, "I Will Be the End of You". In February 2013, HIM announced record deals with Razor & Tie, Double Cross and Universal Music, who would handle HIM's forthcoming releases in North America, the UK and Ireland, and Europe, respectively. On April 26, 2013, HIM released their eight studio album, Tears on Tape, which was once again produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, and mixed by Tim Palmer. Tears on Tape charted in 9 countries, peaking at number 2 in Finland and Germany, number 7 in Austria, and at number 15 in the US. The title-track, "Into the Night" and "All Lips Go Blue" were released as singles, all of which received music videos. The former two were directed by Stefan Lindfors, with whom the band had previously collaborated on the video for "The Funeral of Hearts." HIM and Lindfors were later awarded "Video of the Year" for "Into the Night", at Noisecreep's first annual Creepies Awards.

Tears on Tape received mostly positive reviews, scoring 67 out of 100 at Metacritic. Classic Rock called the album "a glorious return to form for one of the world's most peculiarly successful bands", which was echoed by Alternative Press, who stated that "within HIM's impressive canon, it's among their best." Kerrang! was less-favorable in its review, stating that "Tears On Tape isn't bad [...] it's just not as seductive as HIM can be." HIM were scheduled to begin their North American tour in support of Tears on Tape on May 3, 2013, but the tour was cancelled after Ville Valo suffered a severe asthma attack and was diagnosed with presumptive pneumonia. HIM were able to tour the US later in the year, as a part of the Rock Allegiance Tour, with Volbeat, All That Remains and Airbourne. At the 2013 Revolver Golden Gods Awards, HIM were awarded for "Most Dedicated Fans".

In March 2014, the band embarked on their first ever South American tour. Also in March 2014, HIM's first four albums were digitally reissued in the US by The End Records. In May 2014, HIM were scheduled to play their first concerts in China, but the first show in Shanghai was cut short by local authorities, while the second in Beijing was cancelled altogether, because of bad weather conditions. In November 2014, HIM released Lashes to Ashes, Lust to Dust: A Vinyl Retrospective '96-'03, a box set containing their first four albums, plus 666 Ways To Love: Prologue, on 180-gram vinyl. In December 2014, HIM supported Fields of the Nephilim at their 30th anniversary shows in London, England.

Final years and disbandment (2015–2017)

In January 2015, Gas Lipstick announced his departure from HIM, after 16 years with the band. In his announcement, Gas stated that "There is no drama, bad blood or any negativity involved in my departure. I simply feel that it's time for me to move on as a musician." In July 2015, HIM made their live debut following Gas' departure, with drummer Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger, at a surprise show at the Qstock festival in Oulu, Finland. Valo later stated that band would begin work on a new album eventually, but no release date had been set. In September 2015, HIM were one of six Finnish bands honored by the Finnish postal service, being featured on a new line of postage stamps, designed by Klaus Welp. On December 5, 2015, HIM played at Knotfest in Toluca, Mexico, with Slipknot, Megadeth, and Lamb of God, among others.

HIM took a break in 2016, during which time Lindström, Mige and Burton reunited with Seppo Tarvainen as Daniel Lioneye, while Valo released his first solo single, and made guest appearances on other artists' releases. In October 2016, it was announced that HIM would be headlining the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in 2017, the band's first outdoor concert in Helsinki. In December 2016, HIM announced four additional tour dates for 2017, taking place in Spain and Portugal from June 14 to June 17. In January 2017, HIM were also announced as the headliner of Miljoona Rock, held in Tuuri, Finland, on July 18, 2017. On March 5, 2017, HIM announced the band would be disbanding after a farewell tour that same year. In the announcement, Valo stated: "After quarter of a century [sic] of love and metal intertwined we sincerely feel HIM has run its unnatural course and adieus must be said in order to make way for sights, scents and sounds yet unexplored. We completed the pattern, solved the puzzle and turned the key. Thank you." Tour dates for the band's farewell tour were also announced, running across Europe and the UK, with US dates to be announced.

Musical style and influences

Vocalist Ville Valo is the main songwriter of HIM and his songs largely deal with themes of love. When talking about his songwriting, Valo explained "I didn't know how to cope with the world. Then I found an instrument, and through that I realized, that I am able to cope with the world and its evils, a bit better, through writing songs." When approaching lyrics, Valo has stated that "I feel like there is no subject more important for a song than relationships. It's the only thing that moves me." Valo also takes inspiration from literature, explaining "As a guy who writes songs, I get excited about an idea, or a book, or a sentence. I don't necessarily get excited about the whole of Tolkien, I just get excited about Uruk-hai. Just a little detail that just makes my mind work overdrive." Valo's lyrics have been described as "oozing with blood-dripping hearts and gothic melodrama".

Critics have referred to the music of HIM as gothic rock, gothic metal, alternative rock, alternative metal, and dark rock. The band have themselves have called their music "love metal", also the title of their fourth studio album. According to Ville Valo, the term "love metal" was a response to people having difficulties categorizing their music. In regards to HIM being labeled a "goth band", Valo responded stating "We can't do anything about that [label], but I think we are a special shade of goth, more tender than others. In Finnish tradition, our music is very melancholic." According to Valo, since the beginning the band's intent was to combine more melodic and melancholic elements, with heavier influences, such as Black Sabbath and Type O Negative. He has described HIM's sound as "sentimental, hard-hitting rock music". Some of band's other musical influences include Paradise Lost, Anathema, Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet and Norwegian black metal. Critic Lance Teegarden of PopMatters has noted that HIM is "not the sort of act that conjures up a lukewarm response [as] people either like them or discredit them outright".

On their debut Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 HIM's sound was viewed as a combination of heavy metal and 1980s rock and goth music. These influences were further explored on Razorblade Romance, which featured less focus on guitar, in favor of a sleeker production and a more melodic sound. HIM continued to explore a more commercial sound on their third album Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, which was met with mixed to negative reactions. HIM's fourth album Love Metal is widely viewed by the band as the album where they found their sound, taking inspiration from old favorites, such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Iggy Pop. 2005's Dark Light was the band's breakthrough in the United States, and once again featured a glossier production. According to Valo, 2007's Venus Doom was written with the intent of creating a much heavier and darker follow-up album, influenced by more early favorites such as My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost. Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice was the band's first album Valo recorded entirely sober and took influences from bands of the 1980s, such as a-ha, Depeche Mode and The Cult. Tears on Tape saw HIM returning to their roots, and combining elements from their sound on each song, as opposed to having a fast song followed by a slow song. Valo called the album a combination of Black Sabbath, The Smashing Pumpkins and Roy Orbison.


In HIM's early days, the band's image was heavily characterized by satanic imagery. The band's original name "His Infernal Majesty", which openly refers to Satan, was inspired by the song "Oblivious to Evil" by Deicide, Haile Selassie, who was known as "his imperial majesty", and The Satanic Bible written by Anton LaVey. While in school, vocalist Ville Valo became interested in the occult and began reading books on the subject. All of the band were also big fans of black metal. The number "666" was also often used in the band's song and album titles. Despite all these leanings, the band has maintained that none of them were seriously interested in satanism, that "it was more about the fascination." The use of satanic and occult imagery was seen by the band as simply "symbolic" and "provocative", as well as "traditionally rock 'n' roll".

In the 1990s, HIM was criticized by members of the black metal community for using satanic imagery, despite not representing their ideals. As a result, black metal fans began showing up at HIM's concerts to spit on the band. Valo was also asked by the head of the Satanic Church of Finland to publicly renounce all connection between HIM and them. The band eventually shortened their name from "His Infernal Majesty" to "HIM" in 1996, because Finnish people had difficulty remembering and pronouncing the name, and the band were not trying to provoke anyone, as they had no connections to the occult. Since the 1990s, HIM have toned down the use of occult imagery, and when asked about the band's image now, Valo stated that "I think we're pretty much the same [offstage]. The only difference is I'm not necessarily wearing eyeliner every day."

On the band's first three albums, vocalist Ville Valo was featured solely on the cover. According to Valo, Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 was meant as combination of goth and eroticism, Razorblade Romance was influenced by the 1980s, glam and pop, while Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was influenced by Lou Reed and Patti Smith, and late 1970s New York City art circles. Love Metal was the first album to predominantly feature the band's logo, the heartagram, on its cover, which was designed by Valo and Janne Uotila. Dark Light also made use of the heartagram, while Venus Doom featured a painting by David Harouni for its cover, which Valo had purchased while on tour in New Orleans. For Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice HIM used a picture of a late 19th-century sculpture of a nun, that Valo had purchased in Bavaria. On Tears on Tape HIM used several paintings by Daniel P. Carter for its artwork, as well as a variation on the heartagram for the cover, also done by Carter.


The heartagram is the trademarked symbol of HIM, which was created by vocalist Ville Valo on his twentieth birthday in 1996. A combination of a heart and a pentagram, the heartagram is meant to represent the juxtaposition of "the soft and the hard, the male and the female, the yin and the yang" according to Valo. Musically the heart is also meant to represent the softer side of the band, while the pentagram conveys the heavier rock-influence. On their first album, the band used a heart with "666" inside it as their logo, which Valo felt was "a bit boring." The heartagram was first predominantly used on the cover of HIM's 2003 album Love Metal, and has since appeared numerous albums, singles and videos by the band. Valo has later stated that the heartagram "is probably the best thing I've ever come-up with", and that it's "worth a lot more than money" and "bigger than our band".

Numerous people have been known to sport heartagram tattoos, including Valo himself, Bam Margera, Kat Von D, and Steve-O, who has his own variation on the symbol, called a "dickagram". The heartagram has also appeared several times on TV, including Charmed, LA Ink, Viva La Bam, and Criminal Minds.

Helldone Festival

Helldone is an annual New Year's Eve -festival organized by HIM since 1998. Held at the Tavastia Club, in Helsinki, Finland, the event originally came together, after vocalist Ville Valo began to feel a lack of good New Year's Eve -parties around Helsinki, and of "need to do something more than just get fucked up at midnight". Beginning as just a one-night concert held on December 31, the event expanded into a three-day festival in 2005 and was renamed "Helldone", after the band's booking agent Tiina Welldone. In 2007, Valo, along with Tavastia Club CEO Juhani Merimaa, founded Helldone Festivals Oy, a company specifically formed to help organize its namesake festival. In 2008 and 2013, HIM expanded Helldone into a tour, which took the festival around Finland, before returning to Helsinki on December 31.

Annually attended by people from around the world, Helldone has hosted several international bands, including Cathedral, Anathema, Paradise Lost and Katatonia. Despite being an annual festival, Helldone took breaks in 2010 and 2011, due to Gas Lipstick's health issues, and again in 2016, because of the band members' other commitments.


Final line-up

  • Ville Valo – lead vocals (1991–1993, 1995–2017), bass guitar (1991–1993)
  • Mikko "Mige" Paananen – bass guitar, backing vocals (1991–1993, 1995–2017)
  • Mikko "Linde" Lindström – lead guitar (1995–2017)
  • Janne "Burton" Puurtinen – keyboards (2001–2017)
  • Jukka "Kosmo" Kröger – drums (2015–2017)
  • Former members

  • Sami "Juippi" Jokilehto – drums (1991–1993)
  • Juha Tarvonen – drums (1991–1993)
  • Oki – rhythm guitar (1996)
  • Antto Melasniemi – keyboards (1996–1998)
  • Juhana "Pätkä" Rantala – drums (1996–1999)
  • Jussi-Mikko "Juska" Salminen – keyboards (1998–2001)
  • Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen – drums (1999–2015)
  • Timeline


  • Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666 (1997)
  • Razorblade Romance (2000)
  • Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights (2001)
  • Love Metal (2003)
  • Dark Light (2005)
  • Venus Doom (2007)
  • Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice (2010)
  • Tears on Tape (2013)
  • Songs

    Join Me in DeathRazorblade Romance · 1999
    The Funeral of HeartsLove Metal · 2003
    Killing LonelinessDark Light · 2005


    HIM (Finnish band) Wikipedia