Love Metal at 20: The Album That Awakened My Love for HIM


A blistering guitar riff filled my ears. Pummeling drums echoed throughout my head. Sultry baritone vocals singing about a love that ached like death took the song home. My friend sat in front of me with a goofy grin waiting for my reaction. “I love this song,” he said. “It’s good, right? They’re a Finnish band called HIM.” We typically spent mornings before 10th-grade history ranking our favorite Green Day songs and debating if they or Blink-182 were the true kings of pop punk. Then one day, it was all about HIM. He started wearing their shirts every day. He obsessed over their music videos. His notebook was slowly taken over by poorly drawn Heartagrams. He spent days taking me through their discography in a desperate attempt to convert me. Nothing really clicked. It’s not that I didn’t like them. They were just okay in my book. But, he didn’t give up convinced he would find the song that would turn me into a fan.

Another morning before history. By now we had the routine down: he’d scroll through his iPod searching for the perfect song, hand me the headphones, and hit play. But this time, something changed. A serene swirling piano greeted me followed by energetic percussion and gentle acoustic guitars that took the song to a different level. The crooning baritone I’ve heard many times before came in sounding sweet and gentle. It was unlike anything I’d heard before. I looked at my friend. He grinned. “The Sacrament” was my introduction to Love Metal and the song that made me a fan. 20 years later, it remains my favorite HIM song.

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Rediscovering Bullet For My Valentine After The Massive Letdown Of ‘Gravity’

Bullet for My Valentine

Ever since I first stumbled upon the “Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow” video, I’ve been a massive Bullet For My Valentine fan. I listened to The Poison every day for a year. I desperately tried to imitate Michael Paget’s insane riffs. And I’m still mad about the Bullet For My Valentine wallet I lost 10 years ago. But my relationship with them has been on the rocks since their last album, Gravity. Widely panned for its radio rock sound, it nearly turned me off to the band completely. Like many fans, I didn’t like the new direction. Not only was it bad, it felt like they changed solely for mainstream appeal. I was disappointed. Now, the boys are back with what’s supposed to be their heaviest album. And I’m kind of looking forward to it.

This new era of Bullet For My Valentine kicked off with “Knives” and it’s not bad. But it’s also not great. Days before the song dropped, the cryptic teasers and new logo got my heart racing. But once “Knives” was unleashed, I was underwhelmed. The song gripped me with its killer intro. The intense dirty riffs paired with Matt Tuck screaming “LET THE MADNESS BEGIN!” gets you pumped. You hear it and think “FUCK YEAH! HERE WE GO!” But over the course of the song, it loses steam. I got bored of it midway through and when it finished, I didn’t care about hearing it again. The song only has one note: be heavy. There are no interesting progressions, the riffs are okay, and the lyrics are decent. Otherwise, the song isn’t very memorable. It’s one of those Bullet songs you don’t mind hearing but ultimately forget about.

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How Fuse and ‘Girl’s Not Grey’ Sparked A Fire Inside Me


Remember Fuse Network? Before the channel was nothing but reruns of Sister, Sister and The Parkers, it was a haven for alternative kids. Dedicated to playing the newest and best in rock music, it was rose above other so-called music networks. It was true 24/7 music programming during a time when MTV and VH1 switched to reality TV. And back in the mid-2000s, I was obsessed with it. I’d watch Fuse every day just to see what bands they played. Programs like Comp’d and Steven’s Untitled Rock Show introduced me to My Chemical Romance, Dir En Grey, The Academy Is…, and Every Time I Die. But only one Fuse memory sticks out vividly in my head: watching AFI’s “Girl’s Not Grey” for the first time.

I had no idea who or what AFI was. My friends didn’t listen to them. I didn’t hear them on the radio. But when I saw that video, it grabbed me. It was strange, yet mesmerizing. The band performing under a red sky surrounded by cherry blossoms, the uncanny girl guided by a strange bunny creature, Davey Havok screaming while covered in black tar. It was like walking through a surreal dream. Unlike anything I’d seen before. And the song was catchy too. From that moment on AFI was my band.

I couldn’t get the video out of my head. I waited hours for it to download so I could watch it every day until I knew every scene by heart. But it wasn’t enough. I needed to know everything about AFI. I spent hours online learning about them, listening to their music, memorizing their lyrics, playing Sing the Sorrow daily, and even downloading their catalog from Limewire. (Hey, I was a broke high school student). Soon, printed pictures of Davey filled my locker. My notebooks were covered with poorly drawn versions of their logo. I told anyone who would listen about this amazing new band. I was obsessed.

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