Fireworks

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Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 12, 2014    
 
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HIM - Dingwalls, London (UK) - 26th April 2013

Having suffered more than their fair share of creative dry spells in the decade that's elapsed since 2003's critically explosive 'Love Metal,' HIM's unpredictable foothold in the international rock scene has long proved to be anything but secure. But where these many years of blood, sweat and (most particularly of all) tears would have left lesser bands reeling, it's clear the Finns' handle on their broodingly dark inner demons has never been more assured. With the quintet teetering on the brink of eighth full-length 'Tears On Tape', it's with a rare mix of raw spontaneity and practiced maturity that these globally adored goth rockers work their emotionally-charged magic on the crowd.

Instantly at ease within Dingwalls' cosy, dimly-lit confines, Ville Valo's dusky vocal presence looms charismatically large as the Scandinavians are greeted with wave upon wave of hysterical screams. Far removed from the drink-addled inconsistencies of earlier live sets, the vocalist's pitch-perfect yet wildly animated verses are positively drenched in emotion, with adrenalin-fuelled classic 'Buried Alive By Love' illustrating every inch of this expansive range. Underpinned by many a psychedelic flourish and smouldering spiral of reverb, it's not long before this up-tempo number whips already euphoric fans into the desired frenzy. Intermingling more recent choice cuts with a wealth of established fan favourites, theirs is a varied and consistently entertaining showcase of a two decade-long career that also forms a tantalising introduction to fresh full-length 'Tears On Tape'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Striking a fine-tuned balance between radio-friendly pop sensibilities and pitch-black whorls of Sabbath-esque distortion, new offering 'Hearts At War' makes for blissfully lovelorn listening, while anthemic title track 'Tears...' taps a wistful, irresistibly anthemic vein. While, in recent years, many might have observed the five-piece's former spark and spontaneity dwindling into considerably tamer territory, this smattering of new material alone reveals reignited passion and instinctive songwriting in spades.

Numbering a satisfyingly riff-laden rendition of 'Wicked Game', a selection of hits extracted from 1999 breakthrough 'Razorblade Romance' see Valo shift effortlessly from inky baritone notes to a soaring falsetto atop a deafening wall of reverb. Plunging still deeper into the earliest classics of the band's expansive back catalogue, 'It's All Tears' is awash with sprawling, Type O Negative-tinged riffage, with Ville injecting devilishly dark theatrics into every teasingly sustained note and nuance. With its historic blend of fresh offerings and unforgettable classics, this is as intimate and nostalgic an experience as any HIM obsessive could wish for, as well as fine testament to a truly inimitable circle of musicians.

Faye Coulman

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