A NEAR three-year refrain from injecting music collections worldwide with any form of new material could have easily secured goth metallers HIM the Leon Jackson Award for Distant Memory of Yester-decade.

Yet the Scandinavian quintet clearly had other plans, involving Bournemouth’s O2 Academy in their full UK tour to support latest album Screamworks.

With a seven-strong palette of releases to cover, the band followed American four-piece Dommin by launching into popular hits Right Here in My Arms and Wings of a Butterfly.

Fans were later treated to the Top 40-gracing Buried Alive By Love, as well as Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game and new tracks Katherine Wheel and Scared to Death.

Taking his time to warm, frontman Ville Valo made disappointingly little initial effort in the way of interaction, appearing almost apathetic at times.

However, a typically continental patter of minimalism wasn’t enough to deter the crowd, who remained fervent throughout.

Valo and co emanate an unquestionable assurance while exploiting nearly 20 years of live experience.

The performance was musically solid, despite a certain rigidity where straying from the safety of their long-established sound is concerned.

While some could argue Finland’s famed love-metal purveyors as erring too greatly on the side of aural caution, the familiarity of Thursday evening’s performance bred anything but contempt.