Title: “Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice”
Label: Sire Records
Release Date: 2/9/2010
Genre: Melodic Gothic Rock
“Screamworks: Love In Theory & Practice” is the seventh full length album by Finland’s HIM and while it’s the successor to the crunching sounds we found on “Venus Doom” there seems to be more of a relationship to the bands “Razorblade Romance” and “Love Metal” releases if one had to draw a quick musical comparison. “Screamworks” does maintain an original sound of its own but it is back to the melodic and catchy basics for the guys and that means there is a lot of tunes on the album that will have you singing along in no time and likely after only a couple of listens. It starts of strong with “In Venere Veritas” which bears a Latin name and if one is to trust the online searches for some translation is roughly seems to mean “In Sex, Truth” which leads you to believe that the premise of HIM’s material has not really changed all that much and this is a very good thing since they excel at tales of Love, Sex and Death when it comes down to it. I liked the flow of this tune and even its interesting little chanting segment in the middle. It grabs you and this is always important for an albums opener. “Scared To Death” is the second tune and it’s a warm and slower track that has a lush sounding chorus and one that I was humming before the song even ended. “Heartkiller” appears to be the main song that they are pushing from the album as its first single or “hit” so to speak and some folks had expressed concern about the song sounding too commercial for their liking and after hearing it a number of times I had to say that they should relax. It’s surely not a lame song in the normal commercial sense but it is a very easy to access song and just might be a number that brings more people into the bands listener base.
Continue reading “Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice” by HIM
Artist: The 69 Eyes
Title: “Hollywood Kills”
Label: EMI Music
Release Date: 7/22/2008
Genre: Gothic Hard Rock
In 2004 The 69 Eyes would release the album “Devils” and this one held special significance to their budding stateside fan base for a number of reasons. You see, not only was this the first album that they were able to purchase as a domestic release but it was also the album that found the band on tour in this region for the first time in their seventeen year existence. If you were one of the lucky people who caught one or two or perhaps even three of these gigs you will clearly remember them as special because the group played like a band afire each and every night by covering choice tracks from “Devils” and a wide assortment of their long established classics from the back catalog. To the US fans, most of these songs were new to their ears unless they had ordered the higher priced imports of their albums from abroad or done the unthinkable and downloaded them illegally. Whatever the case may have been, the band performed to capacity crowds during the length of this tour and now the final night that was recorded for posterity can be enjoyed by a larger audience with “Hollywood Kills – Live at the Whisky a Go-Go”. The evening kicks off with an introduction by Bam Margera, a man who has been behind the band for a number of years and if he could help HIM why couldn’t the same magic happen for The 69 Eyes. The band jumps right into the opening number of their album “Devils” which is of course the song that bears the same name and from there it is on. The recording quality is top notch and you hear every instrument rather well along with singer Jyrki’s deep and dark voice. From there the band switches back and forth it seems between new track and classic number from their other albums. The larger focus of tracks comes from the absolutely killer “Blessed Be” while a couple of others hail from “Paris Kills”. They do go back a few years earlier to 1997 with “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams”, a tune that comes from the album bearing the same name. I am starting to notice a trend with these guys as they periodically have a song that is on the album that is also the name of the album.
Continue reading “Hollywood Kills” by The 69 Eyes
Artist: Hanoi Rocks
Title: “The Nottingham Tapes”
Label: Cherry Red UK
Release Date: 6/10/2008
Genre: Glam Rock
According to the liner notes that come along on the packaging of the film, the recording for Hanoi Rocks’ “The Nottingham Tapes” is the result of a film crew’s decision to leave their equipment set up from the recording of an all day Trash Rock affair at the same venue where this show would take place. After watching only a couple of songs from the show I had to say that not only the fans of Hanoi Rocks were lucky that this was done, but also any fan of bare bones Rock and Roll with a Trashy/Glam edge to it. Formed in 1979, Hanoi Rocks were one of those bands who were ahead of the times when it came to their genre and should you know your Rock history, you will recall that not only did the Punk material of the day inspire them, but also the classic Rockers of the fifties and sixties. This allowed the band to stand high above the competition in terms of the strength of their material and find them come to inspire bands like Poison and Guns ‘N Roses in the years that would follow. The show was recorded at The Palais club located in Nottingham, England and it captures a full sixty minutes of fun time music. I was a little disappointed to see the limited camera angles, but this was done in 1984 my friends, and the means for super and extravagant video recording sessions was not par for the course yet. The viewer is limited to shots from the far stage left, and some close ups, and additional views from behind the drum kit. From this I am guessing this was no more than a two or three camera shoot. However, despite some of the lacking in the visual sense, I found no such issue with the audio portion of the show. The band sounds excellent and all of the instruments are captured perfectly. As a matter of fact, it sounds so good that I will assume that there was a feed to the soundboard because you really don’t hear any audience noise during the show.
Continue reading “The Nottingham Tapes” by Hanoi Rocks
Title: “Venus Doom”
Label: Sire Records
Release Date: 9/18/2007
Genre: Gothic Hard Rock/Doom Metal
For the Hard Rock and Metal fans who have long felt that the music of HIM was a little too light for their tastes then I present to them the bands newest and darkest release to date – the crushing and melancholic “Venus Doom”. Crushing because there is just a lot more “oomph” to the guitar sound than we have found coming from HIM in the recent past and melancholic based on the subject matter that Vallo is singing about, and how he delivers it. Let’s face it – he’s never come across as the happiest guy in the world with tunes like “Join Me In Death” or “Fortress Of Tears” so why change the working formula now. Musically this release is a far cry from the commercially viable fare that we found on their US debut “Dark Light” and as a result the overall catchiness of the tunes will take a little more work on the listener’s part. There’s no “Vampire Heart” or “(Rip Out The) Wings Of A Butterfly” on this one that you can easily sing along to but when you hear tracks like the opening title “Venus Doom” and “Passions Killing Floor”, you will find that the brooding grooves they lay down are almost hypnotic. Across the release we have Ville singing in the voice we all know and love but there are also a few vocal tricks that he pulls out of his hat that made me think the band at some point listened to a little Type-O-Negative. When he uses the deep solemn tone he reminded me very much of Peter Steele lead singer from that Brooklyn based band.
Continue reading “Venus Doom” by HIM
Artist: The 69 Eyes
Label: Caroline Records
Release Date: 11/6/2007
Genre: Gothic Hard Rock
They might have missed the chance to fill your Halloween goodie bag with this one but just the same Caroline Records has issued a Special Edition 2CD/DVD set for those Helsinki Vampires The 69 Eyes; it’s a release that will make any Gothic Hard Rock fan blush until there is once again some color in their cheeks. Entitled “Angels/Devils”, the release features the entire “Angels” and “Devils” albums that the band had delivered to their fans over the last couple of years. “Angels” bears no difference to the original but “Devils” adds a couple of bonus tracks to enjoy. Given the similarity to the original albums we are re-printing many of our initial thoughts on the release.
Continue reading “Angels/Devils” by The 69 Eyes