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HB: The Coolest Band You've Never Heard Of

posted May 30, 2011, 8:09 PM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated May 30, 2011, 8:25 PM ]

If you ever find yourself in Finland, there’s one thing you have to do—go to a HB concert and tell me how epic it is! Formed in 2002, HB (which stands for Holy Bible) has exploded onto the Finnish music charts with a blend of gothic metal and progressive rock. And their brilliant music is slowly filtering into America with the help of English releases of two of their four albums, Frozen Inside (in Finnish, Enne), and The Jesus Metal Explosion (Piikki lihassa).


The Jesus Metal Explosion kicks off with its title track, a fast-paced, symphonic metal hit that declares “I can’t be ashamed of Your name. Jesus You’re so good to me.” It’s such a catchy song that if it found its way onto Christian rock radio (like, it would skyrocket to number one.


With a slightly heavier feel, but never lacking in piano and strings, “Loaded” discusses complacency in life—when life is going well for us, we tend to slowly forget about God. When we hit obstacles, our eyes suddenly turn back to Him. “Do I need a god still in these days?” sings lead vocalist Johanna Aaltonen. “I’m used to walking my ways. So I only seek His face when I am weighed down. Then I turn away. I have everything. The fear of God is fading. One of these days I may cross the gulf of no turning back. He shall let me fall to the hands of my old enemies!” In other words, when life is going so well, sometimes the only way to find God again is to be thrown into tribulation, to be tested.


“Should the Lord remove all evil, I’d be first in line,” is the chilling line that comes in the middle of “It is time II.” In the beginning, the song begs the question, “Why let evilness reign?” It’s a question that all Christians wonder at some point. Since we, as humans, can never be perfect (expect through Jesus), if God were to “smite” all the evil in this world, who would be left?


“Hands of Grace” is soft, beautiful piano ballad that encourages listeners to keep walking “hand in His hand” and “in His grace. You can be graceful in His grace.”


The staccato and, at times, dissonant sound of “Nightmare” makes you feel like you’re in a nightmare. Essentially it’s about a battle between you and evil. “Help me Jesus!” whispers Johanna. The first time I heard this song, I immediately imagined an epic prog-rock musical.


The song “Holy Bible” is literally about the Bible. Instead of the cheesy Sunday-school song about the books of the New Testament, I’ll be singing this song to remind me the order of the books. “There are four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Books of Acts, Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, and James. Two Peters and Three Johns, Jude and John’s Revelation.” This song also lists the Old Testament and the bloodline from Abraham to Jesus Christ, all to excellent progressive metal music!


The theme of evilness and sin continues in the quiet, moving, piano ballad “Abandoned.” If this album is a musical, this is the song the heroine sings in her darkest moment—a sort of “all hope is lost” feeling.


But then, someone (God) walks on stage, “If I told you, that you’re truly loved, how’d it make you feel? From your birth I knew you. If I told you, that you are unique in me…You’re the only you. I made you for a reason!” declares the soft beginning of “King’s Design.” Where “Abandoned” made you want to cry with failure, “King’s Design” fills you with love and hope. (Seriously, these songs would be an awesome musical!)


“Joy Upon the Lord” is a progressive worship song reminding listeners to keep our focus on the Lord—this is where our joy comes from.


The album ends quietly with “The Lord of Lords.” “He is the Lord of Lords, yet He calls each one of us by name.” It’s a beautiful hymn, one that could easily be played on any contemporary Christian radio.


Just like each of us are unique to one another, HB is a unique band that can stand their own against any progressive rock and/or gothic metal band—like Dream Theater or Within Temptation—but also has the ability to write moving hymns. You won’t be disappointed with HB. The Jesus Metal Explosion is available for download on Amazon (and I’m assuming iTunes).


HB "Jesus Metal Explosion"


HB "It Is Time II"