HIM
Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice


2.5
average

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
February 6th, 2010 | 50 replies | 16,777 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Here's HIM's attempt at 'killing loneliness'.

’I am scared to death to fall in love,’ admits HIM's front man Ville Valo on second track “Scared To Death”. To understand the irony of that statement, one must be familiar with HIM and have had listened to some of the band’s previous albums from the past. All throughout their career as a band, Finnish rockers HIM have crafted albums that all center around the lyrical subjects of darkness, vampires, and love. With varying ways as to how they approach each album musically, whether commercial or more aggressive in nature, the band have always held strong to their paradox blend of lyrical subjects, even if the type of hard rock they crafted made such inclusions sound strikingly out of place.

This year’s Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice finds HIM retreating from the more distorted and aggressive sound of 2007’s Venus Doom. In its place, the band have chosen to go down a commercial route that, while in places the album does recall the band’s breakout albums in the late 90s, happens to be their most marketable effort yet. The first thing that listeners will come up against when listening to Screamworks…, or all of HIM’s albums for that matter, is Ville Valo’s distinctive, smokey-esque delivery. In some places the album sounds very pop-punk-ish, and, as unfortunate as it may be, the front man’s vocals sound really awkward when placed over the music. Take for instance lead single “Heart Killer”: as the band transitions from poppy guitar riffs in the verses and then leads into a reasonably catchy chorus, Ville flaunts, 'Baby, baby, I’ll be a flatliner for a heart killer.’ In essence, the band sounds as if they're trying to reach into areas that are better left for bands like We The Kings or All Time Low.

Instrumentally, for music of this type anyway, HIM are very sound. The guitar riffs from Mikko Lindstrom and Mikko Paanenan, while distinctly Americanized, get the job done; every now and then, the duo even throw in a decent guitar solo on a few of the songs. The focus is definitely on Ville Valo, however, so don’t expect to be air drumming to any fantastic fills as you listen to Screamworks…. The best parts of the album are when the front man lets loose a powerful vocal howl, such as in the guest vocal-assisted bridge of “Ode To Solitude” or dance-like “Like St. Valentine”. Ville’s harsher type of vocals is a great deal better than his singing voice; in fact, it’s reasonable to conclude that the Finnish singer could have had an excellent career in any form of extreme metal. Unfortunately, these harsher, exciting moments, unlike much of Venus Doom, are very rare on Screamworks…. Sadly, we are left with Ville’s often-times awkward, gruff approach that typically doesn’t fit very well with this album’s more commercial and light musical drive.

Highlights come in the way of the radio-rock “Scared To Death”, the acoustic balladry of “Disarm Me (With Your Loneliness)”, and the sampled-heavy, final track “The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness”. As previously stated, the level at which listeners will enjoy HIM’s albums largely depends on how well they take to Ville Valo’s vocal style, and, especially in relation to Screamworks…, how well they can handle the paradoxes to be found in HIM’s hard rock style of music. It's reasonable to conclude that many fans of 2007's Venus Doom may be very disappointed with this album as it lowers the level of aggression in the band’s sound; however, those that have been with the band for the majority of their career might actually enjoy how Screamworks… blends many aspects of their past efforts together to create their most commercial-sounding album yet. Unfortunately, the transition from a hard to catchy sound doesn't work as well as the band might have planned, and as a result, HIM’s Screamworks… will most likely fall to the wayside as an undeniably awkward and average effort.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


I apologize to WhereIsMyMind, but here's my honest take.

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



4835 Comments


Love Metal

aoty

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


Could rise to a 5 with a few listens.

bloc
February 6th 2010



34502 Comments


How did I know you'd be the one putting out the first review of this you fatass lol

Rating is as expected, song titles are funny.

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


Well I said in the news post that I would do one if no one wanted to, and they didn't ;)

Kiran
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5993 Comments


some of the song titles are hilarious

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 6th 2010



7263 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

excellent review, pos'd. i pretty much agree

KILL
February 6th 2010



67191 Comments


i wish scared to death was called scar'd to death that would be cooler

Digging: Pink Fairies - Never Never Land

Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


Thanks Ali, and sorry Kill, but that wouldn't be HIM's style.

EVedder27
February 6th 2010



6088 Comments


Yeah songtitles are pretty bad. Great work man.

Romulus
February 6th 2010



8373 Comments


This album has disarmed me with its loneliness.

Very good review, pos'd.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


Thank you, guys.

The majority of the track names are standard or generic, but "The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness" is just terrible.

Cesar
February 6th 2010



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review. Album could have been better. I'm between 3 and 3.5, but gave them the nudge because I'll a long time fan.

It's a shame though that after an album as great as Venus Doom they regressed to this. Heartkiller is extremely catchy with great vocal, as is St. Valentine. Like you said the music is sound, you see the potential "what could have been" from this album shine through every once in a while, but it just seemed they went conformist on this and it felt well short.

Did I mentioned this is one of the worst album covers I have ever seen in my 21 years of life?

Ponton
Emeritus
February 6th 2010



5775 Comments


Thanks. Yeah, the sonic change was too quick and off-putting. They should have spanned it over at least two or three albums instead of jumping straight from hard to commercial.

Asiatic667
February 6th 2010



4647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Meh, I turned gay for this band with Dark light and the Greatest Hits, then after a while lost interest. They're good live and everything, but they get boring after a while

Did I mentioned this is one of the worst album covers I have ever seen in my 21 years of life?

Really? I think it's awesome. Probably the only part of this album I'm interested in

Cesar
February 6th 2010



2732 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe it is a pathological distaste for nuns idk, I just think it's awful. I do like what they did with their name, it is pretty cool.

Asiatic667
February 6th 2010



4647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It seems a waste. Ville really could have gone in for an extreme metal career, as stated in the review. His vocals would match

PanasonicYouth
February 6th 2010



7411 Comments


love mehtul

Asiatic667
February 6th 2010



4647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

you know what I mean

Nikkolae
February 6th 2010



4415 Comments


this one and the Venus Doom are pretty much the best album covers in HIM's career the cover for greatest love songs Vol. 666 is just horrible

will stay away from this as far as i can

Digging: Corrupted - Paso Inferior



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