Release Year: 1997
For those who may not know, HIM is a Finnish band that specialize in “love metal,” which is what the band decided to call their music since no one could agree on if they were a rock, metal, or an alternative band. They made it big in America around 2001 when they were constantly featured and endorsed on Bam Margera’s show Viva La Bam. They are mostly well known for their symbol the heartagram, which has been featured on skating clothes and other works. Since then they have released seven albums with their last being Screamworks. Here I will look at their first album Greatest Lovesongs Vol.666.
What blew me away when listening to this album is the dark, creepy, haunting theme that runs throughout. There are so many different elements from the singing, to the music, to sound effects that really come together to give each song a dark feel to it. When thinking about the other albums that came after this one, this is probably the band’s darkest album, at least in terms of music.
All of the songs are fantastic and have some Gothic influences behind them. Each track is filled with Ville Valo’s sinful and sensual voice and dirty, rocking guitar riffs provided by Linde. You can really hear how great the guitar work is on the track “Our Diabolikal Rapture.” The intro riff is just sexy and really strikes something in you that makes you pay attention to the song. While this song has the best riff, it’s probably the low point of the album. The song isn’t that bad, but singing isn’t so great here. There are times where it doesn’t even seem like it fits the song. It starts out fine, but when Ville hits the chorus it sound like he’s trying to hit notes he just can’t reach. Then there is the bridge that sounds like a completely different song. It abruptly changes tempo and stands out from the track. But having one track out of nine (or 10 depending on which version you hear) isn’t bad for a debut.
Some standout tracks from this album are “Your Sweet 666,” another song with a great, memorable, guitar riff, “For You,” which establishes the haunting feeling throughout with creepy, ethereal singing and “The Beginning of the End,” one of the creepiest tracks on the record. The music here is amazing. You can’t even decipher what instruments are making the haunting sounds. Add Ville’s creepy singing and this track will make you feel like something is going to go wrong at any second.
There are a few covers to be found here and they are actually pretty good. The first is “Wicked Game,” which is a cover of a Chris Issaks song. Where his version was kind of haunting and slow, HIM’s version is filled with sleek guitar solos and fast tempos. The band gives it a rock and roll makeover, something you can really move to. They would go on to redo this cover for their greatest hits album. The other cover is my favorite. It’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. I actually prefer this version over the original because the band really gives the song the creepy, impending doom treatment it truly deserves. There are no kick ass guitar solos here (like in the original) but HIM finds a way to make it their own.
Another remarkable thing about this album is Ville’s voice. He really does have a fantastic voice and he has an impressive range. He can do falsetto and then go to a very deep, almost hellish sounding voice in less then ten seconds. The opening of the track “It’s All Tears” sounds like he comes from the depths of hell. On the track “Sigillum Diaboli” he lets out a scream at the beginning that sounds tortured and anguished. It will have you wondering whether it’s the same guy. And on other tracks he sounds vulnerable and sweet. He uses his great voice to the best of his ability on this album.
Overall, this album gets 9/10. It’s definitely the darkest HIM album by far, but it might also be their best. The listener will be immersed in the dark theme that takes over this album. All the songs are awesome, even the two cover songs that you’ll find here. This is a great reminder as to why this band was one of the best in the 2000’s.
Are you a fan of this album? Feel free to share your thoughts about this album in the comment section!