“Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice” is the seventh studio album by the Finnish “love metal” band HIM, released on the 8th of Febuary, together with a bonus CD called “Baudelaire in Braille”, which contains all the 13 tracks from the first CD, recorded acoustically.
Frontman Ville Valo described the album as being “about both the theoretical and practical aspects of relationships which are an impossible problem to resolve, […] a cathartic, primal scream”, inspired by the singer’s past relashionships.
“Screamworks” is perhaps the most accessible HIM album so far, a combination of “love metal” with elements from the alternative and pop genres. The sound is closer to typical American metal than to Finnish music, the record being less dark and less heavier than their earlier releases. The use of pop undertones takes some time getting used to, but after listening to the first 2-3 songs, it becomes barely noticeable.
Despite the big difference in the sound, HIM have kept the elements that they are most known for: short tracks (the majority of the songs last around 3 minutes), catchy choruses and lyrical themes such as crushed dreams, open wounds, loss, pain etc. At times, Ville’s voice sounds better than ever, and yet, on rare occasions it is actually weak (these can be heard especially on the acoustic CD).
“Shatter Me With Hope” is probably the most typical HIM song of “Screamworks”, while songs such as “Scared To Death”, “Dying Song” and “The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness” stand out and are definitely the highlights of the record. Melancholic ballads are not missing either, the best example being “Acoustic Funeral (For Love in Limbo)”.
The acoustic CD is a nice bonus, even though not all the tracks sound as good, as it can get boring especially if you listen it right after the first CD, and Ville does not manage to show off his voice in combination with these instrumentals.
Overall, even though many of the tracks are similar to each other, this album is definitely an entertaining one and does not let you get bored. With “Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice”, HIM have changed their style enough to attract new fans, and to not disappoint the older fans at the same time.
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”