For Fans Of
Nineteen years down and a host of successful releases behind them, studio album number seven was never going to be an exercise in finding HIM’s sound. Rather, ‘Screamworks: Love in Theory & Practice’ is about exploring how the band continues to evolve, re-shape and continue their musical persona.
The Finnish five piece have never had to worry about promotion. It is strange that HIM have generated just as many fans from the many uses of their iconic heartagram logo as they have from their music itself. This new offering in a nutshell is decent and engaging but not without fault.
What has commonly been the band’s greatest strength is ironically perhaps their greatest weakness on ‘Screamworks’. HIM has always treaded a fine line between melodic crooning with a dark edge and commercial rock. It is a delicate balancing act, and on ‘Screamworks’, it appears the latter half is more prominent, overwhelming that brooding melancholy. The music is still of the highest of standards, and the songs are accessible, catchy and fluent but the gloomy menace that gave birth to a sound affectionately titled ‘love metal’ is seemingly not as existent.
The album’s true highlight ‘Heartkiller’ is the equal of any of the band’s previous hits – mixing a solid rock beat with the addition of keys and Valo’s harmonic refrains. It has a dual accessibility, containing both the resonance of a Bon Jovi stadium rock tune, while likewise carrying the band’s trademark alternative metal edge.
Concurrently, songs such as ‘Love the Hardest Way’ and ‘Like St Valentine’ highlight the aforementioned claims that ‘Screamworks’ is HIM’s most mainstream sounding record.
‘Screamworks’ is a little hit and miss, but nevertheless still deserves a confident and assured pass mark.
‘Screamworks’ is better served when isolating select tracks. Some of HIM’s best work is self-evident on studio album seven. Unfortunately, they are matched by equally average and mundane efforts. It’s certainly a grower that in essence is solid, but for a more comprehensive look at the band’s signature sound consult previous efforts.
1. In Venere Veritas
2. Scared to Death
4. Dying Song
5. Disarm Me (With Your Loneliness)
6. Love, the Hardest Way
7. Katherine Wheel
8. In the Arms of Rain
9. Ode to Solitude
10. Shatter Me with Hope
11. Acoustic Funeral (For Love in Limbo)
12. Like St. Valentine
13. The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness