For these smooth Finns, love bites.
Brutal. Ballsy. Extreme. These are the kinds of words normally pressed into service when describing hard rock. Sultry and suave? Not so much. But with HIM, the Finnish group that for more than a decade has specialized in a gothic grind they characterize as "love metal", you might even sneak in a sexy and still be on point. Their riffs pack the wallop of Black Sabbath and "Black Album"-era Metallica, and the ethereal keyboards that gave the album’s predecessor, Dark Light, an unctuous sheen have largely been replaced by guitarist Linde Lindstrom’s furious shredding. Still, it’s perpetually heartsick frontman Ville Valo’s vampiric crooning that gives this band its fangs. So when he lets loose a rare scream on "Love in Cold Blood", it’s a downer. Dude: We know you’ve come to suck our blood, but at least have the courtesy to romance us first!