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.Read More “Love Metal at 20: The Album That Awakened My Love for HIM”