HIM
Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights


4.0
excellent

Review

by BenjoJames USER (18 Reviews)
February 13th, 2013 | 32 replies | 1,164 views


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Softer and more downbeat than much of the Finnish quintet's other releases to date, the introverted nature of the album need not get in the way of great songs, and every track on this album is worth a listen.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Before I begin to delve into the oft overlooked masterpiece that is HIM's 2001 opus 'Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights' (that's a photography term, and possibly the best description of what this album actually sounds like) I should take a moment to speak of their charismatic frontman, Ville Valo. An electrified Johnny Depp character, all long curls and smudged eyeliner, as much a dandy romantic-hero as he is tattooed rocker-badboy, crooning poetic lyrics with a perpetual Marlboro glued to his lips, Valo is a unique personality even for the heavy rock genre he's part of, and his presence on this album is strong. This is by definition a gothic rock album, however extends far beyond the limitations of the genre, thanks to the Helsinki band's frontman's natural dynamism.

This is evidenced most strongly by the album's opening track 'Salt In Our Wounds', as Latin-style percussion gives way to lounge piano and surf guitars, Valo's smoky (literally, he was on around 100 a day when this album was released) baritone begins to lament 'Here we are in the maelstrom of love' to a backdrop of haunting strings. This is goth rock only by a narrow definition, whilst Valo sings of heartbreak he does so in a way that's as much charming as self-deprecating, far more tongue-in-cheek than many of his wrist-slitting contemporaries. Valo's low harmonies have a certain timelessness to them, and he's in many ways a skeletal Sinatra; zombified but emanating class and charm all the same. 'Heartache Every Moment' follows, a melodramatic masterpiece of chiming pianos and distorted guitars. It's melancholic whilst still retaining power, not an easy task for a band with the 'goth' tag, and whilst the lyrics are self-absorbed at face-value, something about this romantic themed rocker still resonates with the listener. 'Lose You Tonight' follows, with more fuzzy-guitars and harmonised voices detailing a tale of woeful love.

'In Joy And Sorrow' is up next, a ballad track, all mournful strings and acoustic guitars, it most accurately depicts the world of dark romance, heavy rock and old-style pop that HIM have created. 'Pretending' continues in a similar vein although it revs up the guitar attack that is more generously featured in preceding albums. Like every track on this album (and in fact in HIM's repertoire) 'Pretending' deals with themes of love and loss. 'Close to the Flame' tracks back any idea of heaviness in favour of soft piano and clean guitars; it's dark, but somehow warm in nature. It's a coffee-shop track for a rainy day, but there's some real sentiment amongst the sadness. 'Please Don't Let it Go', injects some fresh energy, something which this album noticeably lacks, and is one of the brilliant highlights of this album. 'Beautiful' is a a real deep shadow, a funereal dirge of a love song, but classic all the same, whereas 'Don't Close Your Heart' brings some much needed levity before doom-and-gloom closer 'Love You Like I Do' finishes off.

Softer and more downbeat than much of the Finnish quintet's other releases to date, the introverted nature of the album need not get in the way of great songs, and every track on this album is worth a listen. Melancholic as it is, there's something heart-warming about the heartbreak that Valo and co. detail throughout the LP.

Stand out tracks; 'Salt in Our Wounds', 'Heartache Every Moment', 'Please Don't Let it Go', 'Don't Close Your Heart'



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user ratings (216)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
AleksiS (3.5)
Chapter III - Pretending...

Julio Babilonia (4)
HIM truly released a “Brilliant Highlight” with this album....

Nightside (4)
...

RazorBladeLight (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KjSwantko
February 13th 2013



9074 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heartache Every Moment is my jam.

I will stand and proudly proclaim that I enjoy this band (older stuff anyway). Pos'd.

fromtheinside
February 13th 2013



17714 Comments


butterflies

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

Cipieron
February 13th 2013



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yep, this band gets a bad rep on here, but they really aren't that bad

Cormano
February 13th 2013



924 Comments


I used to really dig these guys back in high school

breakingthefragile
February 13th 2013



2950 Comments


This is the favorite band of one of my friends. I'm really not a fan though. But
anyway, this is a very good review. You avoided bordering on fanboyism because
you back up your reasoning in a well thought out manner. You have my pos.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

fromtheinside
February 13th 2013



17714 Comments


same question potsy... why do you listen to so much good music when you know it's going to be good, you could alternatively listen to bad music (and maybe make the bad music better?)

breakingthefragile
February 13th 2013



2950 Comments


The amount of good music that I check out definitely outweighs the music I check out that I have a hunch will suck. I just choose to listen to music in general though, any artists that I may discover. I like to give anything a chance and not go into something with the mindset it will suck, or under the influence of other people's negative or positive feelings towards said music. I listen to something and form my own opinions.

BenjoJames
February 13th 2013



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there any corner of the internet free from argument? Haha.

BenjoJames
February 13th 2013



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there any corner of the internet free from argument? Haha.

BenjoJames
February 13th 2013



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is there any corner of the internet free from argument? Haha.

breakingthefragile
February 13th 2013



2950 Comments


You know, what is your problem dude? Seriously, that's not a conceited response, I
was just trying to be as polite as I could in answering your wiseass question by
explaining as much as I could so there would be no miscommunication. The reason
I've listened to every HIM album is because I wanted to see if I'd like any of them.
That's pretty damn simple and understanble reasoning if you ask me. Sorry if it's
not a good enough response for you, kick rocks man.

fromtheinside
February 13th 2013



17714 Comments


fragile. the sun will rise tomorrow. I think...

TheNotrap
February 13th 2013



7992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretending ftw, but Razorblade Romance is better in my opinion.
Auto-pos.

manosg
February 13th 2013



5751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is a guilty pleasure.

BenjoJames
February 13th 2013



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My preference constantly shifts between this album and RR.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2013



3336 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is their worst IMO. The only songs I enjoy are Salt In Our Wounds, Lose You Tonight, Pretending and In Joy And Sorrow sometimes. It's too cheesy. Still, good review.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Mookid
February 13th 2013



1294 Comments


I actually like this

BenjoJames
February 13th 2013



178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you. I can understand your perspective, I love this album, however I can only listen to it so much. It's an objectively brilliant album, but one I'll listen to sparingly.

Mookid
February 13th 2013



1294 Comments


I think I like Dark Light and Venus Doom the most, though

I didn't care for Razorblade Romance though

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2013



3336 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Venus Doom and Love Metal are their strongest efforts so far. In the past decade, they had this pattern of releasing one heavy album, then a softer one (Love Metal - Dark Light - Venus Doom - Screamworks), so I have high hopes for the new record, Tears On Tape coming out this spring.



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