Forgotten Treasures: The Razorblade that will make you feel love

Artist: HIM (His Infernal Majesty)
Album title: Razorblade Romance
Release date: December 19, 1999
Duration: 54:33 (11 songs)
Genre: Love Metal
Rating: 9/10

There are always albums that people forget about, or have never heard of before and basically this is the reason why I’ve decided on Forgotten Treasures section. Such a record, forgotten or not known in wide publiceye is Razorblade Romance by Finnish band HIM – His Infernal Majesty.

Love Metal sounds like a mixture of two things that seemingly don’t go together. Seemingly. Thanks to HIM things that once sounded improbable took another direction of the band playing with the idea of fusing those two words together… and the result? The band’s best album – Razorblade Romance.

As the name of the record itself is disturbing –challenging your imagination with the razorblades and love – the more you listen to it the better you understand. Under the metallic shield done of the metal music you will find a beautiful fragile rose in its wake. Metal is not just music for hardcore people who are acting tough – thanks to Ville Valo and his band mates – metal can be sweeter, tenderer and heart-wretching.

Master of love – these are the words to describe Ville Valo’s ability to write songs about love. ‘I Love You (Prelude To Tragedy)’ or ‘Join Me In Death’ are just fractions of his work on love. The Shakespeare of love metal, he sees the dark side of love – the poisonousness, the tragedy and the pretentious play – “A prey she was for the cruelty of love while its serpent inside crawled straight towards her heart. The coldest kiss love ceased to exist while we grew apart like never before. “ [Poison Girl]
What’s even more attractive about this man is his unique voice and the vocal range, which he maintained wide during his career, also the ability to hit the right Metal depths when needed which are  in a matter of seconds changed into sky-high notes and so Razorblade Romance is flawless in that matter.
What’s more, in his words there is hidden poetry which seems to be pushed into the background because of the music genre, but in fact all it is doing to the lyrics is that the more harder it gets the more lost you get, the more you think of it, the more magical it gets. But it’s not always about the dark side. There are those pictures of happiness, comfort and beauty that the love brings along and Mr Valo knows it perfectly. “She is smiling like heaven is down on earth. Sun is shining so bright on her. And all her wishes have finally come true.” [Right Here In My Arms]

Surely, this dark beauty would be nothing if it wasn’t for Mikko Lindström’s marvellous guitar solos and bridges, giving the rockish groove to the band on this and on the latter records. The David Copperfield of the album is, unsurprisingly, Juska Salminen because his work with keyboards and synth sounds is exceptional. The peak of his work for me is ‘Join Me In Death’, which is phenomenally composed song – when you listen to in you know that it all was meant to be put together into such a gracious timeless tune.

Mikko Paananen and his bass patterns are what give the album its Metal core. Without his energetic playing, they wouldn’t be able to become Metal band at that point. Migé and ‘Gas Lipstick’ Karppinen are the two giving the band what is seeks for – the beautiful Finnish cold metal heart.

From that you can see that HIM is the band where everyone have his own place and everyone is better at something else which in the end bring tunes like ‘Right Here In My Arms’ which is uptempo tune about never letting a girl to go or ballads like ‘Heaven Tonight’ or an album masterpiece ‘Gone With the Sin’ that just could not sound any better.

You don’t have to be metal fan, you don’t have to be a pop-lover who hates hard music. You don’t have to like HIM, but at the end you will undoubtedly admit that Razorblade Romance is an album that was, have been and is first and one of its kind.

It makes me sad to see that some of the fans who have openly cheered Ville and HIM as their savior now, when one gig doesn’t go well, turn their back and start to spit on the savior. I mean it’s ok to pissy, if you pay a ticket to get to Helldone, and even a air ticket to get to Finland, and the gig isn’t good. But people should understand that they could enjoy the whole trip, not only the concert. HIM fans all over the world are there. And hey, tough luck guys, one gig was not so good. But come on, some of you could just shut the **** up and give a guy a chance. I challenge any of you to live a day in Ville’s shoes

Juska Salminen (Zoltan Pluto, interview 2013/03) 

TODAY: 16th July 2005

Former HIM keyboard player Juska Salminen’s (aka Zolton Pluto) current band To/Die/For play a gig at Gloria in Helsinki, Finland.

Juska was a member of To/Die/For 2004 - 2005 and returned to the band in 2010.  The band had previously been called Tiaga in 2003.  Juska can be seen in the background of this picture performing at Gloria.