27th October 2013
Review & Photography by Rhys Heal
We all remember the HIM that came complete the love metal persona. At whatever side of the metal music spectrum your allegiances lay, at one point, HIM were impossible to ignore.
With this, it wasn’t long before the masses of Heartagram tattoos became their own little homing beacons of resentment and ultimately, this Finnish, five-piece lost their purchase on the music world and haven’t since been able to regain the popularity of yore; even though their last couple of albums have actually been pretty decent.
Of course, this ever-repeated tale of the fall of a popular culture leviathan didn’t stop Cardiff University’s Great Hall buzzing to the sound of Valo’s velveteen croonery tonight.
One thing is immediately certain when the opening chords crash in to ‘All Lips Go Blue’ and ‘Buried Alive by Love;’ this band are as tight as you’d hope for an act that are now seeing their 12th year in with a bang.
Valo still oozes that trademark nonchalance from his ever spindly frame but it’s only in this type of environment that you can see how well this band actually gel; to his left throughout the evening, Linde Lindtstrom is phenomenal and makes that signature white SG sing with bassist Mige Paanenen bringing up low end to the fray with under-stated, energetic zeal.
Coming complete a well-programmed light-show, ‘Join Me in Death’ raises the roof and more doses of the old-school charm come in the form of ‘Your Sweet 666’ and the mind-blowing, extended rendition of the timeless cover ‘Wicked Game’ which is polished off with a six-stringed flurry that sees the dreadlocked axe-man aghast with the ovation it brings from affront the stage.
None of the members of tonight’s headlining act would deny their original forthcomings, or the perceived pomposity of their musical musings; what is obvious is that they are truly happy with where they are musically and this yearning is matched with the ultra-loud, sing-alongs which are cinematically boosted through their suitably emblazoned amp stacks.
Yes it is easily accessible and sure, His Infernal Majesty are most likely perceived as a ‘starter’ band, but it would be a crime to just write off tonight’s performance in favour of preconception would be a shame.
HIM are outstanding this evening, that’s all there is to it.
Unleash the Red
1. All Lips Go Blue
2. Buried Alive By Love
3. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
4. Right Here in My Arms
5. The Kiss of Dawn
6. I Will Be the End of You
7. Join Me in Death
8. Your Sweet Six Six Six
9. Passion’s Killing Floor
10. Tears on Tape
11. Wicked Game
(Chris Isaak cover)
12. It’s All Tears (Drown in This Love)
13. Soul on Fire
14. Into the Night
15. The Funeral of Hearts
16. When Love and Death Embrace
17. Kiss the Void