HIM – Razorblade Romance (1999)

I guess this is probably one thing you wouldn’t have expected me to cover, but I was chatting recently with LIW regular contributor Burra on many things musical, and somehow, somewhere along the highway HIM came up. Burra raised the quite valid point that Razorblade Romance was a solid album in any respect, and I had to agree with him, regardless of the band that released it, or what they would become. It is eternally bizarre to think that HIM started out as a Black Sabbath tribute band (I for one cannot image them playing any Sabbath tracks), as that would be far cry from the pop-dressed-as-metal that we have here.

But, if you’re gonna do something, do it right. You have to understand here that this thing came out before HIM had any real international recognition; before Bam Margera forced this band into the playlist of every male with a beanie hat and a Jackass DVD; and most definitely before Ville Valo was wetting up goth teen panties on the other side of the pond. On top that, this thing isn’t going to win any awards for originality. The same lame-ass fucking drum beat carries every song, as does the muted chugging of the guitar riffs, which is used so often in verse structure that Mushroomhead started to draft up a cease and desist order. It’s almost offensive to musicians worldwide how simple this shit is.

But it works. Throw in some lazy but effective keyboard playing to fill out the middle-ground and you’ve got the perfect backdrop for the man himself; His Infernal Majesty, Ville Valo. You gotta admit this guy has some pipes on him, and without a doubt helped carried this band to it’s success. This thing is loaded with hits that could easily top charts if backed with sickly electronica instead of distorted guitars; “Poison Girl”, “Right Here In These Arms”, and the, I gotta be honest, absolutely fucking fantastic cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.

This is one of the closest instances where metal almost became pop music (anyone who raises me that fucking farce Babymetal loses 9000 internet points – that shit is a product, nothing more).

HIM Trivia: The song “Join Me In Death” was blamed for a fan suicide and was re-titled “Join Me” for a while to avoid any further controversy. It now seems to be back as the original title, even on the band’s Vevo. Also, the band are supposed to go by the name HER in America, kinda like how Ghost is supposed to go as Ghost B.C. but never do.