Sunday, 13 April 2014

Lip Service - Venus Doom

This post may have no plan, no flow and no real point, I'm just going to see where this goes... 

**Trigger Warning: mentions of cutting and suicide**

It's no secret that I love music. I love all kinds of music, but I have always loved heavy rock and metal the best of all. I have nothing but love for HIM, my favorite band above all others. It does, however, occur to me that I paint myself as a person who advocates the taking seriously of mental health and doesn't want things such as eating disorders, self harm or suicide glamorized. So why do I feel such an affinity towards a band like HIM, who reference the suicide of Romeo and Juliet, or have lines in songs like "Oh I see your scars, I know where they're from, sensually caved and bleeding until you're dead and gone..."? The answer is simple but complex... HIM are a band that blend opposites seamlessly, love and death, joy, suffering, they can mix it all and make it work... This band may seem doom-y, but they have a distinct air of hope about them too. 

Right now, as I sit here writing this I have 17 HIM albums, which is 204 songs, all of which I know word for word. I suppose it has something to do with my mental state when I first found them. I found the song "Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly" on a Metal Hammer or Rock Sound compilation CD sometime in '07 or '08, when I was in 5th year. I knew my good friend Emma liked them so I asked her to burn me a compilation mix-cd for me and that was it. The next weekend I went to the nearest Heartbeat City (showing my age much?!) and got Venus Doom. I fell in love and let me tell you I fell HARD. As a 16/17 year old who didn't understand the way she was really feeling, Valo made sense of my (as I saw it then) messed up head. The video to the left, is a lyric video I found on YouTube of Venus Doom...

A quick trip around Google and a few mouse-clicks later and I learned that much like myself, Ville Valo was a bit of a tortured soul, suffering with his own problems, though I suppose mine were not nearly as serious, since he was killing himself with alcohol while writing the album, and once Venus Doom was recorded he was checked into rehab to detox. No matter what though, I knew I felt like a kindred spirit and identified with the themes of pain, suffering, love, hope, hopelessness and sorrow in the 9 songs of Venus Doom. I played it on repeat until I was able to lay hands on more of their music. 

"Grieve all your heart out as you writhe enthralled, in tragic, ecstatic agony... Just show me a life worth living for, light up the dark..." This lyric, from the title track, Venus Doom made me feel like I was not alone, that the pain I was feeling was not just confined to me, but that others were feeling it too, and that Valo felt it just as much as any of us. 

Fast forward 7 years and I still adore them. They seemingly glamorize self harm, suicide, but not really. I know that many would disagree with me but, at least in my eyes they are the most hopeful band I have ever encountered. As someone who had thought about nothing but dying and death until I found HIM, let me tell you, they gave me a reason to keep hoping and not to give up in the face of great pain. Give their track "Song or Suicide" a listen, it goes from a morose goodbye to a hopeful message of continuing to live, even while feeling utter anguish... 

There is always hope, even in the darkest of times... I wouldn't give a part of my body to just anyone, and I always want to be reminded of how this band gave me hope and helped me though the darkness, to find the light. 

Once again, as you know, when you hear a song from an artist for the first time, it’s not necessarily the best song you hear… but that first impact is so important that you’ll always remember that song and it will be something special for you.
— Ville Valo

Valo has taught me more about love, death, joy, pain, and hope in the last seven years than I will ever be able to articulate, or even thank him for. I think if I ever met him I would try to thank him for what his words have done for me. Try. I'd probably clam up in a big way...

I'm going to leave you with some of my favorite Valo quotes... Enjoy.

…it’s important to concentrate on the positive aspects. If you’d only see the negative things, you’d get paralyzed and incapable of doing anything at all. The world is a beautiful place. You never know what’s awaiting you at the next corner.
— Ville Valo

I guess I’m celebrating the challenge of being human. Everyone’s got their struggles. You need to keep moving forward, though, and try to realise you’re not the only one.
— Ville Valo

“I need a soul mate so that I can be who I am, naked. I want there to be someone who picks up my heavy, bleeding heart and takes it somewhere safe and warm.” ― Ville Valo

Sorry if this made no sense...