The hype around the previous mega-seller "Razorblade Romance" got Ville Valo and his band under enormous pressure. During a very short period of time they had to create a new album that fulfilled their listeners' expectations, especially that of the moneyed teenies. Best would be "Razorblade Romance Part II". To complete the disaster, keyboarder Jussi had left the band during their tour and newbie Burton had to prove his talent on the keys.
But "Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights" didn't become a second "Razorblade Romance" in the end. H.I.M. are musically hitting completely new notes with this album, so many fans criticised it as weak. But in fact it is far from being weak. It's just calmer, containing more ballads and guitar-player Linde's riffs have been replaced by acoustic guitars and melodic Pop-Rock. Some may now say that this album is mainstream, but "Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights" is indeed worth a try. You just have to accept that it is different from everything you heard of H.I.M. so far.
The opener "Salt In Our Wounds" seems to have some oriental influences at the beginning, but already the second song "Heartache Every Moment" is as typical as a H.I.M.-song can be. Caressing melodies combined with a voice that couldn't be much more tender. I really feel that Ville Valo was more into this album than everyone assumes. His vocals are more honest, warmer and with so much feeling that you rarely find. The ballads "In Joy And Sorrow", "Beautiful" and the breath-taking "Close To The Flame" prove it. The rest of this album is Pop-Rock you can sing along with, but with some edges. The lyrics maintain their H.I.M.-typical symbolic of death, devil and tears. The last song "Love You Like I Do" leaves the listener in a melancholic, depressive mood. Altogether "Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights" doesn't fit for wannabe-deads, it's simply too positive. Sorry, guys. (Online September 16, 2003) Guest reviewer Babett Jahn