An unreleased seven-track 1992 demo tape, Witches and Other Night Fears was the band's first recording. The only known copy supposedly resides with frontman Ville Valo.
The band was originally called "His Infernal Majesty", but later changed their name. In addition, "His Infernal Majesty" gave people the idea the band members were satanist. 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, and worth quite a lot. Recently a near 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 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 "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.
After gaining popularity in Europe, particularly in their homeland, HIM released its second album in 1999, titled Razorblade Romance. This is when the band's popularity began to rise, their single "Join Me in Death" from the album reached #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 European version of sci-fi movie 'The 13th Floor', thus making it more popular worldwide.
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 better 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 Pätkä leaving the band.
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. The style of music played on the album is a bluesy-hard rock, with themes such as sex, alcohol and rock 'n' roll, which very different from the romantic lyrics of HIM.
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 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 Emerson Burton, the final addition to the current line-up. Once again the album shot to #1 in their Finnish homeland. 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 with Razorblade Romance, there were problems naming the album. 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 total sales were nearly 400,000.
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 featured a gold heartagram, the band's well-known logo. "The Funeral of Hearts" was the first single and their first high appearance on the United Kingdom charts at #14, it also hit #3 in Germany. It was followed by "Buried Alive By Love" and "The Sacrament". (The Sacrament was recently used as the ending for the anime film Highlander: The Search for Vengeance.)
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".
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 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. Right Here In My Arms was featured on Bam's Unholy Union.
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, 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. 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, 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.
On June 9th 2009, HIM announced in a phone interview with Euro-Rock Radio that they will be recording their new album in August 2009 with producer Matt Squire in Los Angeles, California. The album is scheduled to be released on Valentine's Day 2010. The working title of the album is Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice. The Recording of the album has since begun on August 3rd 2009 and will be stretched to a six month period. As of September 5th, rhythm guitar, drums and bass have been recorded, according to Matt Squire's Twitter page.
Recent events and releases
Ville Valo recorded a duet with German actress Natalia Avelon for the movie "Das Wilde Leben"/"The Wild Life". The track, a cover of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood's song "Summer Wine," was released as a single in January 2007. Ville Valo also recorded "Just for Tonight" with Linde's wife, Manna. It was rumored that Ville Valo was approached by the composers for the "James Bond 007" franchise at the BMI awards in October, and asked to co-write and sing the theme song for the sequel to 2006's "Casino Royale" which starred Daniel Craig as James Bond. It was known that the composers were impressed with their song "Wings of a Butterfly". This was later denied by Valo in the April 26, 2008 edition of Kerrang! magazine, stating that, although he was at the same London gala, he'd never even met the music producers for the James Bond films. It has also been recently rumored that Ville Valo will be working on a song for the next Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland 2010. The song is claimed to be a duet with singer Fiona Apple. The song was rumored to be entitled as 'The Dark Is Golden'. Nothing to deny or officially confirm this one as of yet.
HIM's genre is debated in some circles; on their CD, Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights, it says their genre is "Alternative" but their musical style is also often referred to as "love metal" by Valo and by the group's fans. Ville Valo has stated that the band started as a "Black Sabbath tribute band of sorts". Valo stated in an interview on the Love Metal Archives Vol. I DVD, that he was fed up with journalists and interviewers asking him (Valo), and the rest of the band what the genre of HIM was. He said in answer to that question, they created the genre "love metal" (which was also the name of their 2003 album.) Critics have referred to them as gothic rock, gothic metal, alternative rock, hard rock, alternative metal, doom metal.
In the Summer of 2007, HIM took the stage with Linkin Park and various other acts, such as My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, Placebo, Julien-K, Mindless Self Indulgence, Saosin, The Bled, Styles of Beyond, and Madina Lake for that year's Projekt Revolution. HIM headlined a U.S. tour beginning in October 2007 with a U.K. tour that followed in December 2007. They have recently finished their "Down Under" tour. They also performed at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in June 2008 as well as headlining the second stage at Download Festival with bands like Kiss, Disturbed and The Offspring . They have been scheduled to play at Projekt Revolution in the summer and fall of 2008. It was announced in August 2009 that HIM will be set to play at the Soundwave Festival in Australia in February 2010 along with bands such as Whitechapel, Paramore, A Day To Remember, Escape the Fate, The Devil Wears Prada and others.
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. Other well known individuals have also received a tattoo of the logo such as Kat Von D. 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 Yang and the inverted pentagram being the Yin.
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.
The Heartagram was also shown in a couple of episodes in season 8 of The WB's Charmed as a demonic symbol.
The Heartagram appears in the episode Criminal Minds where the girl was wearing a Heartagram necklace.
HIM, also known as 'His Infernal Majesty', is not to be confused with Infernäl Mäjesty, a Canadian thrash metal band, formed in Toronto in 1986; HiM, an American post-rock band; or 4Him, a Contemporary Christian group.
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 and Thulsa Doom (in 2000-2002), when as stated above the band had problems with the name in the U.S. Those names have been used in several gigs, mostly in Finland, 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."