Screamworks: Love In Theory And Practice
by James Christopher Monger
Finnish Goth rockers His Infernal Majesty’s seventh studio album was built around one of pop music’s most ubiquitous themes: heartache. Breakups have been throwing artists into alternating fits of feverish work and hopeless despondency since time immemorial, resulting in both great works and self-absorbed descents into bloated narcissism. Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice is a little bit of both. The group’s penchant for melodramatic, late-'80s/early-'90s melodic alt-rock in the vein of New Model Army, Dream Theater, and Mission UK serves as an efficient, yet predictable vehicle to deliver the primal scream that is heartbreak, and songs like In "Venere Veritas," "Heartkiller," and "Katherine Wheel" deliver the goods with solid hooks and appropriate gravitas. That said, there are more than a few embarrassing moments to be found (lyrics like “the promise of heaven, pushed us right back to hell/turned three sevens, back to three sixes again” would be better left in the tear-stained, spiral notebook where they originated), and the sheer weight of the material will be lost on those for whom love is currently showering with drinks, but overall, the material sits within the band’s canon well enough to please longtime fans, and listeners looking for some kind of middle ground between Evanescence, late-period Queensr?che and Fall Out Boy will more than likely find a few wicked gems to hang their heads to.