By Meghan Player

There is a reason that Soundwave is the most exciting time of the year in Australia. With so many international acts hitting our shores, fans are treated to some incredible ‘sidewave’ sets over the course of two weeks – tonight being no exception, as Finnish love-metal legends HIM headline the Metro Theatre.

I’m not going to lie. I am a massive fan of HIM. I’ve seen them numerous times, bought all their albums and yes, I am one of those people who has a heartagram tattoo. But tonight seems to feel undoubtedly different from their previous live sets, and just as the band takes to the stage, there is a definite electricity in the air.

Opening with the hard-rocking Buried Alive By Love, the band kick off the evening in blistering style. The guitars are crunching, the drum and bass combo pounding at lightning speed, and frontman Ville Valo‘s voice is at possibly the best I’ve ever heard. And this is just the beginning.

The band rip through a set list that has the die-hard fans in mind, ranging from Your Sweet Six Six Six to Poison Girl. Right Here In My Arms to Wicked Game – with fans hanging on every word and note the band produce.

However, it’s the atmospheric and downright heartbreaking version of Join Me [In Death] that dominates the evening, with the band pouring as much heart and soul into the track that they can possibly muster.

Fans of the latest album, Tears On Tape may have left tonight a little disappointed, with the band only briefly touching on the album – with the title track and All Lips Go Blue – before crawling back to nostalgia and ending the evening with The Funeral Of Hearts [and encore, When Love & Death Embrace].

While I may be a little biased in terms of HIM, I can honestly and whole-heartedly say tonight was the best set the band have ever played. Their set was as tight as hell, never faltering or diminishing the melodies or emotions that the band created, in some cases, over 15 years ago. It’s no small achievement to be at the top of your game, some 20 years since the band was formed, but HIM tonight proved that they are still relevant. And utterly wonderful.

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