HIM is a rock band from Finland formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko Lindström, and bassist Mikko Paananen. They have released six full length albums to date. As of 2008, they are the first and only Finnish band to have an album certified a "gold record" in the United States.
The band was originally called His Infernal Majesty, but later changed their name after being associated with Satanic Rituals. Also the Finnish could not pronounce their His Infernal Majesty, the name was to long, also to explain so they cut it short to H.I.M .666 Ways to Love: Prologue was released in 1996 solely in Finland, and only 1,000 copies of this album were sold. This makes it very rare for HIM collectors and fans. Recently an almost mint condition copy of the bands EP was listed on eBay for around $600. The lady on the cover is said to be Valo's mother, who (according to an interview with Valo) worked in a shoe shop at the time. It was produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, and was recorded at Finnvox Studios, MD and Peacemakers, Helsinki.
The band 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 special digipak version was also released with "For You" moved to the first track. Another special edition was released in Germany with the bonus track "Sigillum 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.All the album's tracks have been performed live but some of them like 'The beginning of the end', 'For you', and 'Our Diabolikal Rapture' are no longer in the band's setlist.
Following this German success they released two more Germany only singles from this album; "Right Here in My Arms" and "Gone With the Sin", which reached #20 and #19 on the charts respectively. Around this time they were also becoming more well known in other parts of Europe, such as the United Kingdom. The album itself reached #1 in both Germany and their native Finland.
In 2002, Razorblade Romance was re-released and put into stores in the United States. HIM was not allowed to use their name for sales because of the American band, HiM, owned the rights to that name. Therefore, they changed the 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 in fact Slippery When Dead as a tribute to Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet, 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 Patka leaving the band.
Migé Amour played bass, Ville Valo was on drums, with Hiili on keyboards, and Ike on sound effects. They released one album, The King of Rock'n Roll, in September 2001, and have only performed together for four shows. Although it was not a commercial success, it retains a cult following.
After the Daniel Lioneye project, HIM released Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights in August 2001. This was the band's first album with new keyboardist Burton Emmerson, the final addition to the current line-up. Once again the album shot to #1 in their Finnish homeland, making them the most dominant homegrown band in their country since Hanoi Rocks in the 1980s. It also reached #2 in Germany. Three singles were released from it: "Pretending" (which reached #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 the previous album,even Deep shadows and brilliant highlights had problems with titling it.It was meant to be called "Ozzymandias Dargunum" and it would contain 14 tracks.The demos were recorded in 2000 in Hollola.In November 2001 the number of total sales was nearly 400,000.
Around the time of the Love Metal album, the group became more well-known in the US 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 has been performed in its entirety in march 8th 2003 in Grosse Freiheit Club,in Hamburg just a month before album's release in April 14th.The only track that was not performed was love's requiem because it wasn't included in the original versions of the album,but only into digipak versions.The tickets were available for sale in the band's official website and they were sold out within a few days.It was Ville who had the initial idea for making this gift to their fans.The show has been included into unofficial releases,video and audio bootlegs under the name 'Buried alive' or 'Love metal live'.
And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004 is HIM's first greatest hits album. It contains two unreleased songs: "And Love Said No" and "Solitary Man", the latter of which is a Neil Diamond cover. It also had a rerecorded version of "When Love and Death Embrace" and the British version also had a rerecorded version of "It's All Tears (Drown In This Love)". The digipak version of this album came with a DVD with six songs live at Semifinal Club in Helsinki.
HIM's fifth studio album, 2005's Dark Light, became the band's full breakthrough in the US, debuting in the top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 and spawning two major rock hits, "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 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 US.
Some time 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".
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 fifteen 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 April 25 in the rest of Europe, May 22 in the United States and May 25 in Australia. It contains fourteen 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.
Venus Doom was released on September 14, 2007 in Finland, Ireland and Germany, September 17, 2007 internationally and September 18, 2007 in the US. At the Give It a Name Festival '07, HIM played one of the new songs, "Dead Lovers' Lane." In an interview with The Gauntlet, Ville stated that the longest song on the album is 10:02 ("Sleepwalking Past Hope") while the shortest song is 1:11 ("Song or Suicide"). 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 off of 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.
At the 50th annual Grammy Awards, Matt Taylor and Ville Valo, for HIM, was nominated for "Best Boxed/Special Limited Edition packaging" for Venus Doom. Venus Doom didn't win, losing out to What It Is!: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967–1977) (performed by various artists and artwork by Masaki Koike).
"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 will come with a limited edition 6" X 4" numbered flipbook. The imagery is from HIM's live performance of "Sleepwalking Past Hope" at that concert.
The heartagram is the trademarked symbol of HIM, best described as a combination of a heart and an inverted pentagram (love & hate), created by Ville Valo the day of his twentieth birthday. Valo has said that "the heartagram stands for HIM as a band, as an entity, and for 'love metal' in general." 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 share the license on 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 the shared license, the symbol is often thought to belong solely to Margera. According to Valo, the band has become better known for their logo than their music.
In a video interview, Ville has stated that the Heartagram is a "Modern Yin Yang," the heart being the Yin and the inverted pentacle being the Yang.
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.
Their first band name was His Infernal Majesty. 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 major US release, Razorblade Romance, was released under the name HER because a Chicago based post-rock band named HiM held the trademark on the name. While they toured Europe, primarily Germany, at this time, they used the name HIM and HER. HIM eventually bought the rights to the name "HIM" in the United States and used it worldwide from there on. HIM has also had other names like Black Salem,Thulsa doom back in 2000-2002,when as stated above the band had problems with the name in USA.Those names have been used in several gigs,mostly in Finland,in HIM's native country.
In the official HIM biography, Synnin Viemää, Ville Valo admitted to making things up and joking about the name during interviews, leading to conflicting accounts of the origin of the name and the confusion that exists today. During an interview, Valo has said:
In almost every interview someone asks what does HIM stand for. I can't even remember our latest lie about that. When Hanson was hot, we said it means Hanson Is Murder. The name doesn't have a particular history. His Infernal Majesty was a totally different band. I think HIM derives from some death metal joke. And it was our protest to Haile Selassie's rastafarian religion, he used to be called His Imperial Majesty. But nowadays because of Linde's hair, we actually might be supporting him.