"It's one of those things that you can't buy with money," says Valo. "That's for people to decide, and you never start out with thinking that way anyways. People can be very faithful."

In April, the band released Tears on Tape, an homage to such artists as Elvis Presley, King Diamond, The Ronettes, Roy Orbison, and Black Sabbath. Valo mined inspiration from the doo-wop, imagery, and harmonies of the '50s and '60s, examining huge moments of emotional revelation as simply as possible.

"Love is my world. Tears on Tape is literally the tears my favorite artists shed on tape. It's a love song for music."

Avenged Sevenfold: "It's the light to the dark for rock music."
Clay Patrick McBride
Avenged Sevenfold: "It's the light to the dark for rock music."

HIM even utilized some of the equipment those older acts might have used.

"We use Helios amps, which are remakes of the stuff The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and Black Sabbath [used]," says Valo. "They have this soft, dull, Rolling Stones-y, kinda fucked-up late '60s vibe. The gear makes you perform in a certain way, in the mindset of those legendary musicians, because it's a certain version of you in your ears. You play into the gear and the gear plays you back."

HIM's signature symbol, the heartagram, readily represents the name of the game for this lineup: a cross between love and heavy metal.

"It's a modern yin yang," Valo says. "The light and dark of society."

"With this lineup, I think the whole aesthetic is exciting," says Valo. "It's all kinds of heavier music, and it will be interesting to see if people absorb it all and get it."

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