Love Metal

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Love Metal
HIM Love Metal.jpg
Studio album by HIM
Released 11 April 2003
Recorded Fall 2002
Studio Finnvox Studios in Helsinki
Genre
Length 52:53
Label BMG
Producer
HIM chronology
Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights
(2001)Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights2001
Love Metal
(2003)
And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–2004
(2004)And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997–20042004
Singles from Love Metal
  1. "The Funeral of Hearts"
    Released: 13 March 2003
  2. "Buried Alive by Love"
    Released: 5 May 2003
  3. "The Sacrament"
    Released: 27 June 2003

Love Metal is the fourth studio album by Finnish gothic rock band HIM. Released on 11 April 2003, HIM began recording demos for the album in spring 2002, after an exhausting touring cycle for their previous album, which nearly broke the band up. Excited and invigorated by the new material, HIM entered Finnvox Studios in September 2002 with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa, who had previously helmed the group's 1997 debut album. Musically Love Metal featured a more raw and organic sound, inspired by the band's early influences, which was also seen as a reaction to the difficulties they faced while recording their previous album. Vocalist Ville Valo has since described Love Metal as the album where HIM found their sound. Love Metal was also the band's first album to predominantly feature their logo, the heartagram, on the cover, while the album's title was coined in the mid-nineties as a description for HIM's musical genre.

Love Metal received positive reviews from critics, with many praising the songwriting and calling the album a return to form after Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights. The album charted in eleven countries, reaching number one in Finland and Germany, later going platinum and gold respectively. Love Metal was also the band's first album to chart in the UK and France at number 55 and 141 respectively. Three singles were released, with "The Funeral of Hearts" reaching number one on the Finnish Singles Chart. Music videos were produced for all three singles, with professional skateboarder and Jackass member Bam Margera directing two. The supporting tour for the album saw HIM playing their first tours in the UK and the US, both of which were sold-out.

Production[edit]

After nearly breaking up, following an exhausting supporting tour for their previous album Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, HIM took a two month break in early 2002.[3] While other members of the band flew on vacation, vocalist Ville Valo stayed behind in Helsinki and began writing new material.[4] When HIM regrouped at the turn of February and March 2002, they felt re-energized, as well as excited about the new songs Valo had written.[3][4] The band soon began recording demos in the spring of 2002, with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa, who had previously produced the band's 1997 debut album.[5] The band continued to work on new material for approximately six months, before entering Finnvox Studios in September 2002 to record their fourth studio album with Hiilesmaa returning as producer.[3] The recording process lasted two months, after which the band flew to Studio Scream in Los Angeles for two weeks to mix the album with Tim Palmer, who had previously worked with Pearl Jam and U2 among others.[3] Additional mixing for the tracks "Buried Alive by Love" and "Sweet Pandemonium" was done at Sphere Studios in London, while the album was mastered at Sterling Sound in New York by George Marino.[6]

The artwork for Love Metal was designed by Valo and Janne Uotila, and marks the first predominant use of the band's logo the heartagram, which was originally designed by Valo on his twentieth birthday in 1996.[7][8] According to Valo, the inclusion of the heartagram on the cover was done as "a statement of intent [...] musically, visually and ideologically", as well as to "get the symbol across".[7][9] The term "love metal" was coined by the band in the late-nineties as way to respond to peoples' difficulty categorizing HIM's music, and was chosen as the title of the album in order to explain to people what the term means, with Valo stating: "When somebody asks 'what is love metal', we can give him or her the album".[10]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The overall sound of Love Metal was described by Valo as being more "organic" and "dynamic" than some of the band's other work, whilst at the same time containing elements from all their previous albums in one.[10] He also described Love Metal as a "hats off" to the band's influences, such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Iggy Pop, as well as a reaction to the difficulties they faced during the making-of their previous album.[10][7] He elaborated, stating: "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."[7] Valo referred to Love Metal as a "moment of realization" for the band, stating: "This is what we are, and this is what we're going to do".[9] He also described the album as where HIM found "the identity of the band".[9]

"Buried Alive by Love" was one of the first songs composed for the album, and opens with a riff inspired by "Search and Destroy" by The Stooges, which Valo had written while touring for Razorblade Romance.[10][3] The song was chosen as the first track of the album to display "that youthful, animalistic energy" that had been "lacking" in some of the band's previous work.[10] "The Funeral of Hearts" wasn't originally considered for the album, as it was unfinished at the time of recording.[11] The song was added at the last minute after bassist Mikko "Mige" Paananen heard the chorus, demanding the song be included on the album.[11] Lyrically "The Funeral of Hearts" talks about "being able to celebrate what you have, even though things might end."[11] Valo described the song as "the most accessible, straight on HIM-tune".[11] "Beyond Redemption" was inspired by a relationship of a friend of Valo's, and lyrically deals with "people who fall in love, and then they are beyond redemption; there's no turning back".[11] "Sweet Pandemonium" talks about "understanding you've got a problem" and the difficulty to "talk about it", while "Circle of Fear" deals with the inability to help other people "without loving yourself first".[12] "The Path" was inspired by the legend of Orpheus, and was included in the end credits of the Finnish film Honey Baby.[13]

Release and promotion[edit]

Ville Valo performing in Norfolk, Virginia, in August 2004

"The Funeral of Hearts" was released in March 2003 as the first single from Love Metal, charting in five countries, including at number one in Finland and number two in Germany.[14][15] The song also gave the band their first UK chart position at number fifteen.[16] "Buried Alive by Love" and "The Sacrament" followed in May and June 2003 respectively, with both hitting the UK charts, and the latter also peaking at number four in Finland.[14][16] All three singles received music videos; "The Funeral of Hearts" was directed by Stefan Lindfors in Lapland, while "Buried Alive by Love" and "The Sacrament" saw HIM working with professional skateboarder and Jackass member Bam Margera for the first time.[10] The band had met him in 2000, while on tour in London, and played their first show in the United States at a party organized by Margera.[10] "Buried Alive by Love" was shot in Los Angeles, with a guest appearance from actress Juliette Lewis, while "The Sacrament" was filmed in Prague.[10][17][18] HIM would later go on to win the award for "Best Video" for "The Funeral of Hearts" at the 2004 Kerrang! Awards.[19]

Love Metal was released on 11 April 2003 in Finland and on 14 April internationally,[20] and charted in eleven countries, peaking at number one in Finland and Germany,[14][15] number four in Switzerland,[21] and at number five in Austria.[22] The album also reached number 55 on the UK Albums Chart, and later charted at number 117 in the US in 2005.[16][23] Love Metal was eventually certified platinum in Finland and gold in Germany.[24][25] The album was also nominated for "Hard Rock/Metal Album of the Year" at the 2003 Emma Awards, while HIM were nominated for "Band of the Year".[26] In May 2003, HIM performed a sold-out show at the London Astoria, before starting the album's supporting tour in October 2003 in Finland.[3] HIM were also scheduled to support Ozzy Osbourne in the fall of 2003 on a European tour, but were forced to drop-out, after the tour was postponed due to Osbourne injuring his leg.[27] In August 2003, HIM announced that they had parted ways with their record label BMG, after fulfilling their contractual obligations.[28] Around the same time the band also announced plans to release a new live album, tentatively titled Live Metal, in November 2003, but these plans were ultimately scrapped, in favor of starting work on new material.[28][29] HIM continued the supporting tour for Love Metal starting on 17 January 2004 in Italy, which was followed by a seven-date UK leg, which was entirely sold-out.[30] From 15 April to 19 May 2004, HIM embarked on their first tour of the US, which was also entirely sold-out.[31]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Imperiumi.net 9-/10[32]
Rock Hard 8.5/10[33]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[1]
Helsingin Sanomat Positive[34]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Soundi 3/5 stars[35]

Love Metal received positive reviews from critics. Mape Ollila of Imperiumi.net gave the album a nine-minus out of ten, and commended the consistent quality of the material, as well as the "hook-laden" songwriting.[32] He concluded his review, stating: "There are a lot of goth pop bands in Finland doing the same thing, but Love Metal once again proves that HIM is one step ahead of everybody else."[32] Thomas Kupfer of Rock Hard also commended the album's consistent songwriting and gave the album eight-point-five out of ten.[33] He also touted Love Metal as a return to form after Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights, calling it a "liberation" after the band's previous hardships.[33] Lance Teegarden of PopMatters awarded the album eight stars out of ten, and praised its "swooning pop hooks, a heavy yet harmonic sound, laments about love, death, and forgiveness, and an assured sense of songcraft".[1] He did however criticize the songwriting as formulaic, but concluded his review by stating: "no one is doing the whole gothic rock thing as convincingly as HIM are right now."[1]

Ilkka Mattila of Helsingin Sanomat was positive in his review of Love Metal, describing the band as sounding "liberated" and more rock following Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights.[34] Rob Theakston of Allmusic praised the album's songwriting as being "as strong as it has been in quite some time", with "a newly found sense of urgency [keeping] the record going at a well-tempered pace", awarding the album three-and-a-half stars out of five.[2] He also touted Love Metal as the album "HIM has been struggling to make and realize for quite a while", providing "dramatic metal of high sonic quality".[2] Petri Silas of Soundi gave the album three stars out of five, and commended the band's ability to innovate themselves with the "faster songs" amid the "grand, mid-tempo tracks."[35] He did however criticize the album of being more of the same "pain-ridden, gothic dragging".[35]

In 2017, Valo revisited Love Metal and declared it as the band's best album, stating: "We found the sound of the band, and I found myself. The band's declaration of what we are."[36] Loudwire later ranked Love Metal as HIM's second best album, describing it as an improvement over Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights and as the album where the band "truly found their sound that moved them forward throughout the next decade."[37]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ville Valo.

No. Title Length
1. "Buried Alive by Love" 5:01
2. "The Funeral of Hearts" 4:30
3. "Beyond Redemption" 4:28
4. "Sweet Pandemonium" 5:45
5. "Soul on Fire" 4:02
6. "The Sacrament" 4:32
7. "This Fortress of Tears" 5:46
8. "Circle of Fear" 5:27
9. "Endless Dark" 5:35
10. "The Path" 7:44
Total length: 52:53

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[22] 5
Finnish Albums Chart[14] 1
French Albums Chart[39] 141
German Albums Chart[15] 1
Italian Albums Chart[40] 22
Norwegian Albums Chart[41] 32
Portuguese Albums Chart[42] 21
Swedish Albums Chart[43] 11
Swiss Albums Chart[21] 4
UK Albums Chart[16] 55
US Billboard 200[23] 117[A]
US Heatseekers Albums Chart[44] 1[B]
US Vinyl Albums[45] 9[C]
Notes
A.^ Peaked on 19 February 2005
B.^ Peaked on 19 February 2005
C.^ Peaked on 10 January 2015

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[46] Platinum 49,231[46]
Germany (BVMI)[47] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Love Metal Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Love Metal Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ville Valo 2003 Love Metal Interview (2/2)". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  4. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.249. WSOY
  5. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.257. WSOY
  6. ^ Love Metal album sleeve notes.
  7. ^ a b c d "HIM – Loud Legacy documentary". YouTube. 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  8. ^ "Ville Valo 2003 interview@subtv". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  9. ^ a b c "Metal Hammer Presents HIM: Tears On Tape -Fanpack magazine - pg. 20". Metal Hammer. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ville Valo 2003 Love Metal Interview (1/2)". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "HIM - VILLE VALO unplugged & interview - ONYX.tv Schattenreich 2003". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Ville Valo interview & chat at T-Music". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Ville Valo interview from Digital Versatile Doom". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-09. 
  14. ^ a b c d "HIM Discography". Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  15. ^ a b c "HIM Discography" (in German). Offiziele Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  16. ^ a b c d "HIM - Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  17. ^ "Making of "Buried Alive by Love" -music video". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  18. ^ "Making of "The Sacrament" -music video". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  19. ^ "Darkness bask in Kerrang! success". BBC. August 27, 2004. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  20. ^ "Ville Valo Lista Top 40 2003 pt4". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  21. ^ a b "Discographie HIM" (in German). HitParade.ch. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Discographie HIM" (in German). AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  23. ^ a b "HIM - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  24. ^ "IFPI - Tilashot - Kulta- ja platinalevyt". IFPI.fi. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  25. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (HIM)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  26. ^ "Emma-ehdokkaat julki". MTV. 2004-01-16. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  27. ^ "Ozzy Osbourne Helsinkiin tammikuussa". Ilta-Sanomat. 2003-10-23. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  28. ^ a b "H.I.M. Part Ways With Label, Seek New Record Deal". Blabbermouth. August 5, 2003. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  29. ^ "H.I.M. Scrap Live Album, Head Back Into The Studio". Blabbermouth. November 13, 2003. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  30. ^ "HIM menestyy Englannissa". MTV. 2004-01-20. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  31. ^ "HIMin kiertue USA:ssa myytiin heti loppuun". Ilta-Sanomat. 2004-03-26. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  32. ^ a b c "Love Metal Review". Imperiumi.net. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  33. ^ a b c "Love Metal Review". Rock Hard. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  34. ^ a b "Love Metal Review". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  35. ^ a b c "Love Metal Review". Soundi. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  36. ^ "Jäähyväiset HIMille – Ville Valo kertoo, miksi Suomen suurin rockyhtye lopettaa ja mitä siitä seuraa". Helsingin Sanomat. 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2017-07-06. 
  37. ^ "HIM Albums Ranked". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  38. ^ Love Metal (Deluxe Version) [Re-Mastered] by HIM https://itun.es/us/KeI-3
  39. ^ "Discographie HIM" (in French). LesCharts.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  40. ^ "Discografia HIM". ItalianCharts.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  41. ^ "HIM Diskografi". NorwegianCharts.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  42. ^ "Discografia HIM". PortugueseCharts.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  43. ^ "Discography HIM". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  44. ^ "HIM - Heatseekers Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  45. ^ "HIM - Vinyl Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  46. ^ a b "HIM" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  47. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (HIM; 'Love Metal')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 

External links[edit]