H.I.M. frontman Ville Valo admits that 2005's Dark Light, his band's first proper U.S. release, was, well, too complex and confusing. Hence, the guys in the Finnish quintet — Bam Margera's favorite band — decided to simplify their goth-imbued sound for the tentatively titled Venus Doom, the LP they've been working on with producer Tim Palmer (Dredg, Ozzy Osbourne) in Helsinki.
"There were too many things going on," Valo said of the band's previous release. "[Venus Doom is] going to be a lot heavier than anything we've done before — that's the whole idea. It's like we're mixing My Bloody Valentine's Loveless with Metallica's Master of Puppets. ... There won't be as much ear candy on this one. There are a lot of riffs, and it's more guitar-oriented than keyboard-driven. Really, we just wanted to rock our own socks off."
But Valo doesn't characterize Venus Doom as a total departure for H.I.M., saying instead that the LP will still contain the singer's trademark brokenhearted lyricism (see "Finnish Rockers H.I.M. Say Everything They Do, They Do For Bam Margera").
"We wanted to make a really rockin' album — one that would explode your speakers," he said. "But we also wanted to maintain the melancholy aspects of love and loss in the lyrics and then have the really sweet vocals amidst this storm of guitars.
"Lyrically, it's about me losing a relationship and then actually regaining it, and losing my sanity and regaining it," Valo continued.
"As you grow up, life gets more and more complex, even though when you're a kid you think things are going to get easier. It's like a f---ing puzzle that just keeps on having more and more pieces to it. It's very personal, this album. It's like me getting rid of my demons and putting the pain in the music. It's cathartic, and it's about cleansing yourself and trying to have the courage to take that one step further."
Valo penned one song, "The Kiss of Dawn," for a close friend who committed suicide soon after the band wrapped the recording sessions for Dark Light.
"It's been a tough year," Valo said with a sigh. "I'm not complaining at all. But I've had really sh---y things happen to me in my life, so this is definitely the darkest album we've done, lyrically. It's also a celebration of life. It's about remembering the ones you loved with a smile rather than being all dark and brooding and having hair in your face and trying to be Robert Smith from the Cure."
Other numbers slated for the album's final track list include "Love in Cold Blood," "Passion's Killing Floor" and "Dead Lovers Lane." And while Valo wouldn't confirm rampant rumors that his band will travel with Linkin Park this summer as part of the revived Projekt Revolution Tour (see "Linkin Park Finish Apocalyptic Album, Revive Projekt Revolution Tour"), he says the band will be touring the States around Venus Doom's July 10 release.
And what does Valo's old chum Bam think of the newest H.I.M. material? Well, he hasn't heard a note yet, but the singer did express a desire to work with Margera: He said he'll ask the "Jackass" star to direct the clip for the album's first single. But he hasn't approached Bam to discuss a collaboration just yet.
"We have to finish the damn thing first," Valo said, adding that the entire LP should be in the bag within the next few weeks.