HIM - Screamworks

by Robert VerBruggen

.
On 2007's Venus Doom, Finland's HIM explored the darker side of their "love metal" sound. On the new Screamworks, they keep things light and poppy; it's a catchier record than its predecessor, but it doesn't always have the emotional impact it could, and a lot of the ideas seem recycled from the rest of the band's catalog.

Listening to Screamworks, the first thing that's obvious is that the band has come a long way since its last attempt at a radio-ready rock album, 2005's Dark Light. Whereas Dark Light's entire second half was filler, Screamworks is a good listen straight through. Also, they've rid themselves of a few career-long bad habits; they no longer end their songs with cheesy key changes, they resist the temptation to drag decent ideas out too long, and while their music still isn't exactly complex, they've learned how to make the various layers sound a little denser than they used to. Perhaps the only bad habit they've kept is cramming too much of their best material at the beginning of each record: "In Venere Veritas," "Scared to Death," and "Heartkiller" are all standouts.

Unfortunately, the second thing that's obvious is that the band has become a little too professional in its songwriting. Often, the material sounds like it was cooked up in a secret lab somewhere, engineered for the twin purposes of taking over American rock radio and landing the soundtrack to the next Twilight movie.

Which isn't to say these songs are unsuccessful. To the contrary: Even as fans miss the Sabbath-inspired guitars of Venus Doom, and even as they pick out fragments of riffs and melodies they've heard before, they'll find Screamworks oddly pleasing to listen to. Sure, it's bland in places, and some of the songs seem to run together, but there's no filler in sight, and a few tracks feature absolutely stellar hooks. Even the overkill power ballad, "Disarm Me," features just enough darkness and attention-grabbing melodies to win over an open-minded listener.

After the aforementioned trio of great songs that kicks the record off, Screamworks settles into a groove of mid-tempo pop tracks, but there are some other compositions of particular note. "In the Arms of Rain" feels just a little exotic thanks to some odd keyboard sounds, and the choruses to "Ode to Solitude" and "Like St. Valentine" are unusually catchy. "Acoustic Funeral (For Love in Limbo)" does a great job of weaving together different guitar tones and textures. "The Foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness" is a great ballad with an almost Depeche Mode feel.

In the end, Screamworks serves as a sort of companion album to Venus Doom, fleshing out the aspects of the band's sound that Doom ignored. Those who think HIM sounds a little lightweight when it goes pop—a position that's far from indefensible—will want to keep their expectations low or skip this record completely. Those who thought the band should have finished what it started with Dark Light, on the other hand, will eat Screamworks up.

-- Robert VerBruggen is an associate editor at National Review. You can follow his writing at http://www.google.com/profiles/robertv4311.



Info and Links

HIM - Screamworks
Rating:

Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Visit the official homepage

More articles for this artist

tell a friend about this article

.



advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
Guns N' Roses Reunion Tops Lucrative Tour List- Aerosmith Postpone American Tour Plans- Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Item Sells For Big Dollars- Rob Halford Box Set- more

Dave Grohl Leads Sammy Hagar Acoustic Event Lineup- ELO Cofounder Not Attending Rock Hall Induction- Rammstein Announce New Release, Stone Sour and Korn Show- more

Eric Clapton Postpones Shows Due To Severe Illness- Metallica's Full Lollapalooza Brazil Set Streaming Online- Wx-Guns N' Roses Guitarist No Longer Regrets Time In Band- more

Day in Pop:
Woman Jailed For Playing Ed Sheeran Hit Over And Over- Rihanna's 'Bates Motel' Shower Scene Goes Online- Drake Angers Fans After Canceling Show At The Last Minute- more

Fetty Wap Reportedly Involved In Argument That Led To Shootings- Adele Says She May Never Tour Again- Drake Shatters Record With 'More Life' Release- The Chainsmokers- more

John Legend Denies Tabloid's Robbery Report- Drake Does Not Respect Kanye West's Disses- John Mayer Reveals Which Pop Star He Wrote 'Still Feel Like Your Man' About- more

advertisement


Reviews

• Ships Have Sailed - Whispers EP

• RockPile: Prog Edition: Steve Hillage- Van Der Graaf Generator- Richard Barbieri

• On The Record: The Dollyrots - Whiplash Splash

• TBT: Down III Over the Under

• Les Bohem - Moved to Duarte

• In Tribute: Chuck Berry Live In Chicago

• Sad Vacation: The Last Days of Sid and Nancy

• Emmet Cahill - Emmet Cahill's Ireland

• American Dreamer - Restless Nights

• Rock Reads: Out of the Basement: From Cheap Trick to DIY Punk in Rockford, Illinois, 1973-2005

• Dan Webb - Oedipus The King

• Root 66 Week: Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band - Standing on Faith

• Derek Davis - Revolutionary Soul

• Root 66 Week: Darin and Brooke Aldridge - Faster and Farther

• Road Trip: The True/False Film Fest 2017

• Root 66 Week: Chip Taylor - A Song I Can Live With

• Zucchero - Black Cat

• Mike Llerena - Absence & The Heart

• Root 66: Charlie and the Regrets - Rivers in the Streets

• Tony K's Best Films Of 2016 List

• Chickn - Chickn

• Miss Ohio - White Hot: The Best of Miss Ohio • more

Rock News Stories
• Guns N' Roses Reunion Tops Lucrative Tour List

• Aerosmith Postpone American Tour Plans

• Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Item Sells For Big Dollars

• Hank Williams Jr. And Lynyrd Skynyrd Teaming Up This Summer

• Judas Priest's Rob Halford Releasing Box Set

• The Kinks' Dave Davies Streaming New Album Online

• Ghost Add Headline Dates To North American Tour With Iron Maiden

• Tommy Stinson's Bash & Pop Announce Spring Tour

• Heart's Ann Wilson Adds New Leg To Solo Tour

• Black Lips Releasing New Album This Spring

• Papa Roach Announce New Album 'Crooked Teeth'

• Venom Inc To Play At Danzig's Blackest Of The Black Festival

• Warrant Streaming New Song 'Only Broken Heart'

• The Kut Announce RSD Limited Edition Vinyl Picture Disc

• Tankard Announce New Album 'One Foot In The Grave'

• Singled Out: Half Blood's Crisis

• more

B-Side Stories
• Woman Jailed For Playing Ed Sheeran Hit Over And Over

• Rihanna's 'Bates Motel' Shower Scene Goes Online

• Drake Angers Fans After Canceling Show At The Last Minute

• Lorde Fans Duped By Hoax From Impersonator

• Promoter Charged Over Fight With Fetty Wap's Crew

• Harry Styles To Perform New Solo Song On Saturday Night Live

• Hunter Hayes Releases 'Yesterday's Song' Video

• Liam Payne Thanks Fans for Love And Supportive Messages after Son's Birth

• Will Smith Takes Part In Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Cast Reunion

• Beyonce Fan Dies Days After FaceTime Call From Star

• Supposed Kendrick Lamar's New Album Details Leaked Online

• Calvin Harris Announces New Track Featuring Ariana Grande And More

• Danny Brown Releases 80s Sitcom Styled 'Ain't It Funny' Video

• Pharrell's Childhood Being Turned Into A New Musical

• Katy Perry Tributes Die-Hard Fan Killed In Car Accident

• Singled Out: Down On Maddy's Titania

• more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.