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Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights

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Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights
Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights.jpg
Studio album by HIM
Released 27 August 2001
Recorded Fall 2000—Spring 2001
Studio Finnvox Studios in Helsinki
Petrax Studios in Hollola
Crystal Sound Studios in Helsinki
Genre
Length 40:52
Label BMG
Producer
HIM chronology
Razorblade Romance
(2000)
Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights
(2001)
Love Metal
(2003)
Singles from Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights
  1. "Pretending"
    Released: July 2001
  2. "In Joy and Sorrow"
    Released: October 2001
  3. "Heartache Every Moment"/"Close to the Flame"
    Released: January 2002

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights is the third studio album by Finnish gothic rock band HIM. Released 27 August 2001, HIM began recording demos in the fall of 2000, with producer T.T. Oksala intending to release the initial recordings as the finished album. After being rejected by the record label BMG, producer Kevin Shirley was brought in, who clashed with members of the band over his style of working. The recording process took eleven months, with outside influences within the industry and the extended time frame causing friction with the album, which ended up with a sleeker and more pop-oriented sound than its predecessors. Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was also HIM's first album to feature keyboardist Janne "Burton" Puurtinen.

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights received mixed reviews from critics, with some praise being given to the songwriting and Ville Valo's vocal performance, but most criticized the album's production and overall commercial sound. Despite this, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights charted in seven countries, peaking at number one in Finland and Austria, later going platinum and gold respectively. The album was also the band's first to chart on the Billboard 200 at number 190. Three singles were released, with all reaching the top two in Finland. The supporting tour for Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights saw HIM playing the US for the first time, but overall strained the band to the point of nearly breaking up.

Production[edit]

HIM began demoing songs for their third album in the fall of 2000 at Petrax Studios in Hollola, with producer T.T. Oksala.[4] The band were ecstatic with the initial recordings, deciding to use most of them on the finished album, with additional overdubs being done later.[4] The band's record label BMG disagreed however, with Valo believing they did not want Oksala producing the album, opting for a name producer.[4] BMG's Asko Kallonen refuted these claims, stating that he and the label were worried about the band's plans to release "essentially demos" as an album so soon after an exhausting touring cycle for Razorblade Romance.[5] Around this time, HIM also parted ways with keyboardist Jussi-Mikko "Juska" Salminen, who played his final show with the band on 31 December 2000.[6] Salminen was eventually replaced by Janne "Burton" Puurtinen, who had already played one show with HIM in the mid-nineties.[6]

With the addition of keyboardist Burton, the band's line-up would remain unchanged until 2015

Due to pressure coming in from BMG's international branches to repeat the success of Razorblade Romance, producer Kevin Shirley was brought on board to help helm the band's upcoming album, having previously worked with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and The Black Crowes among others.[7] While Shirley was excited to be working with HIM, the band were not entirely on board with his style of producing, as well as the amount of money the label was spending on hiring him.[7][8] Despite this, Valo later admitted that some of Shirley's ideas did improve the material, including "Heartache Every Moment" and "Salt In Our Wounds".[8] The band were faced with multiple difficulties during the making-of the album, with Valo stating that "the industry wasn't expecting [Razorblade Romance] to be such a hit that it was, so it meant that now there was like seventeen thousand different A&R people from the record companies and whatnots in the studio, and everybody had an opinion."[9] The recording process for the album took approximately eleven months, which Valo felt was too long and affected the material too severely.[10] He explained, stating: "When we started recording the third album, we were into stoner rock and Black Sabbath [...] At the end we were into Neil Young and it shows on the record."[10]

After recording finished, the tapes were sent to Randy Staub and Chris Lord-Alge to mix, with additional mixing being provided by John Fryer, who had produced the band's previous album.[10] As with Razorblade Romance, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was once again mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound in New York.[11] The album's title is a photography term that Valo chose because of its yin and yang symbolism that had been prominent in the band's previous album titles as well.[12] After shooting the initial album cover, Valo was flown out to London for a photoshoot with Rankin, after the UK division of BMG rejected the initial artwork.[12] The finished album cover for Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights took inspiration from Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and late 1970s New York City art circles.[13]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The overall sound of Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights has been described as more commercial and "poppy" than its predecessors.[15][16] "Salt in Our Wounds" was deliberately chosen as the first track on the album to mess with the listeners' expectations according Valo, due to its use of looping and other effects.[14] Despite the song's experimental nature, Valo still referred to it as "the most Neil Young" of the album.[14] "Heartache Every Moment" was described by Valo as containing all the essential elements of HIM's sound, including "the Bon Jovi, and the tongue-in-cheek gothicness of the lyrics".[14] "Lose You Tonight" changed the most throughout the recording process, starting out in the style of Cathedral, before ending up like "Bon Jovi on mushrooms".[14] Valo compared "In Joy and Sorrow" to "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, and singled out the song's "no frills, self-ironic directness" as one of its best qualities.[14] The track also features guest appearances by Apocalyptica's Eino "Eicca" Toppinen and composer Tuomas Kantelinen.[11]

"Pretending" was chosen by BMG to be the first single from the album, and while Valo has admitted to being indifferent towards the song, he still singled out its relaxed nature and lyrics as particular highlights.[17] "Close to the Flame" was described by Valo as "sincere and direct" and very similar to "Gone with the Sin" off of the band's previous album.[17] "Please Don't Let It Go" began in the style of The Stooges, but after Valo recorded an acoustic version of the song, the band chose to combine the two.[18] "Beautiful" also began life as a more uptempo song, but the band felt the arrangement didn't fit, so it was reworked in the style of John Frusciante's first solo album.[18] "Don't Close Your Heart" was described by Valo as "Jefferson Airplane meets Bon Jovi", and lyrically deals with similar themes to "Join Me in Death", but from a different perspective.[18] According to Valo, the song talks about how "if things go to shit, you don't have to sink into the swamp. You can ask for help and not close your heart."[18] "Love You Like I Do" was described as "Elvis on acid" and makes use of church bells, which was done as tribute to Black Sabbath.[18]

Release and promotion[edit]

Ville Valo performing with HIM at Ruisrock in July 2001

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was originally planned to be released in May 2001, but was pushed back to August, so the band could start a supporting tour around the same time.[19] "Pretending" was released as the first single from the album in July 2001, peaking at number one on the Finnish Singles Chart, as well as number ten in Germany.[20][21] The band had initially wanted Miikka Lommi to helm the music video, but BMG and the UK marketing department refused, ordering HIM to go with Kevin Godley instead.[22][23] Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was released on 27 August 2001, and charted in six countries, peaking at number one in Finland and Austria,[20][24] and at number two in Germany and Switzerland.[25][26] The album would later be certified platinum in Finland and gold in Austria.[27][28] Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights also charted in the United States in 2004 at number 190, making it the band's first album to hit the Billboard 200.[29] Also in August 2001, HIM were invited to play their first show in the US, at a party organized by professional skateboarder Bam Margera, whom the band had met in London while on tour for Razorblade Romance.[30]

The official supporting tour for Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights began on 17 September 2001 in Hamburg, with Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus and The Mission serving as opening acts on the German leg.[31][31] In October 2001, "In Joy and Sorrow" was released as the second single from the album, hitting number two in Finland and receiving a music video.[20][32] The European tour for Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights lasted four months and 44 shows, which once again resulted in the band nearly breaking up.[31] Valo later explained: "The stress was at a level that I had dick on my forehead the entire run [...] I had done this for three years straight without a vacation. No wonder the dams broke at some point."[33] As a result, HIM took a two-month break in early 2002, during which time guitarist Mikko "Linde" Lindström and bassist Mikko "Mige" Paananen left for Nepal, drummer Mika "Gas Lipstick" Karppinen flew to New York, Burton took a week off in Turkey, before returning to Finland, while Ville Valo stayed in Helsinki.[34][35] In January 2002, "Heartache Every Moment" and "Close to the Flame" were released as a double single, the latter peaking at number two in Finland and both receiving a music video.[20][36] HIM regrouped at the turn of February and March 2002, when Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights was officially released in the UK, after the BMG had initially refused to release the record.[19] This was followed by two promotional shows in Birmingham and London respectively, with the first being sold-out and the second supporting The Mission.[35] HIM were also awarded "Export of the Year" at the Emma Awards, as well as the "Viewers' Choice Award" at the VIVA Comet Awards.[37][38] In March 2002, the band began another Finnish tour, with Hiili Hiilesmaa's band The Skreppers serving as support, after which HIM returned to the UK for a more extensive tour.[39][40][41]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Blabbermouth.net 9/10[42]
Rock Hard 6.5/10[15]
Rumba 6/10[43]
Helsingin Sanomat Mixed[2]
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[44]
Soundi 2/5 stars[45]

Deep Shadows and Brilliant Hightlights received mixed reviews from critics. Borivoj Krgin of Blabbermouth.net gave the album nine out of ten, and described it as "the group's most accessible offering so far", giving praise to the songwriting and Valo's vocal delivery, which he called the "most potently effective weapon in the group's musical arsenal".[42] Krgin did describe the band's intent on moving away from the direction of their debut as a "letdown", but concluded that "in purely artistic and commercial terms, however, HIM have made the logical follow-up album to one of last year's highlights, and they continue to cement their reputation as one of the most unique and consistent rock acts around."[42] Thomas Kupfer of Rock Hard, who gave the album 6.5 out of 10, criticized the production and the new softer approach, but did commend some of the songwriting.[15] He concluded by calling the album "no more than a good pop album".[15] Rumba's Janne Flinkkilä gave Deep Shadows and Brilliant Hightlights a six out of ten, criticizing the softer approach, stating: "Every song has been squeezed into a tight hit format, where the song structures move as predictably as the seasons change."[43] He also commented on Shirley and Oksala's production as bringing "Valo's asthmatic breathing sounds to an almost comical scope".[43] Ultimately Flinkkilä stated that "HIM hasn't made a bad album", but in comparison to "the gothic gloominess of past albums, Deep Shadows and Brilliant Hightlights sounds very light".[43]

Jani Mikkonen of Helsingin Sanomat was mixed in his review, criticizing the sleeker production and softer sound, but gave praise to the addition of Burton and described the album's best moments as "straight-up pop songs".[2] Antti J. Ravelin of Allmusic awarded the album two-and-a-half stars out of five, and described its sound as "utterly boring" and the songs as "lacking hooks".[44] As a whole, he described Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights as a "horrible failure" musically.[44] Tero Alanko of Soundi felt similarly, calling the album "ideal music for girls, who don't dig the music, but Ville Valo's looks and his lyrics' decadent imagery" and gave the album two stars out of five.[45] He also described the album as "anemic" and "devoid of moments, where the best parts of the band come together to form something more that the sum of their parts."[45]

In 2017, Valo revisited Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights and described it as a "fragmented, unnatural record", stating: "We were recovering from the cannon that was the last album and the way back to ground was through a lot of fumbling. There were too many chefs on the record than there should have been, so the end result was incoherent."[46] Loudwire later ranked Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights sixth in HIM's discography, and described it as not "the follow-up to Razorblade Romance that fans had hoped for", but still commending the "hooks" and Valo's vocal performance.[47] KaaosZine ranked it fifth, and commended it for featuring some of the band's best songs, yet stating that the album is not "as strong of an ensemble" as some of the band's other work.[48]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ville Valo.

No. Title Length
1. "Salt in Our Wounds" 3:58
2. "Heartache Every Moment" 3:56
3. "Lose You Tonight" 3:42
4. "In Joy and Sorrow" 4:00
5. "Pretending" 3:55
6. "Close to the Flame" 3:46
7. "Please Don't Let It Go" 4:29
8. "Beautiful" 4:33
9. "Don't Close Your Heart" 4:39
10. "Love You Like I Do" 5:14
Total length: 40:52

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[24] 1
Finnish Albums Chart[20] 1
German Albums Chart[26] 2
Italian Albums Chart[49] 37
Swedish Albums Chart[50] 44
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 2
US Billboard 200[29] 190[A]
US Heatseekers Albums[51] 10[B]
US Vinyl Albums[52] 11[C]
Notes
A.^ Peaked on 16 October 2004
B.^ Peaked on 16 October 2004
C.^ Peaked on 10 January 2015

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[53] Platinum 58,009[53]
Austria (IFPI Austria)[54] Gold 20,000*

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Metal Hammer Presents HIM: Tears On Tape -Fanpack magazine – pg. 1179". Metal Hammer. 
  2. ^ a b c "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  3. ^ "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". Metal1.info. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  4. ^ a b c Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.195. WSOY
  5. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.196. WSOY
  6. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.169. WSOY
  7. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.197. WSOY
  8. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.198. WSOY
  9. ^ a b "HIM – Loud Legacy documentary". YouTube. 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  10. ^ a b c Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.200. WSOY
  11. ^ a b Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights album sleeve notes.
  12. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.201. WSOY
  13. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.73. WSOY
  14. ^ a b c d e f Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.204. WSOY
  15. ^ a b c d "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". Rock Hard. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  16. ^ "Ville Valo - MAD TV Studios, Greece - 06.04.2003". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  17. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.205. WSOY
  18. ^ a b c d e Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.206. WSOY
  19. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.213. WSOY
  20. ^ a b c d e "HIM Discography". Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  21. ^ "PRETENDING" (in German). Offiziele Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  22. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.202. WSOY
  23. ^ "HIM – "Pretending" (Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  24. ^ a b "Discographie HIM" (in German). AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  25. ^ a b "Discographie HIM" (in German). HitParade.ch. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  26. ^ a b "DEEP SHADOWS AND BRILLIANT HIGHLIGHTS" (in German). Offiziele Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  27. ^ "IFPI - Tilashot - Kulta- ja platinalevyt". IFPI.fi. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  28. ^ "Gold & Platin" (in German). IFPI Austria. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. Retrieved 7 Feb 2008. 
  29. ^ a b "HIM - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  30. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.227. WSOY
  31. ^ a b c Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.218. WSOY
  32. ^ "HIM – "In Joy and Sorrow" (Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  33. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.223. WSOY
  34. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.247. WSOY
  35. ^ a b Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.249. WSOY
  36. ^ "HIM – "Heartache Every Moment" (Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  37. ^ "Emma-winners". Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  38. ^ "HIM - Pretending - COMET 2001+ interview with Ville". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  39. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.251. WSOY
  40. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.252. WSOY
  41. ^ Juho K. Juntunen (2002). "HIM – Synnin viemää" p.253. WSOY
  42. ^ a b c "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  43. ^ a b c d "HIM-nostalgiamatka Rumban arkistoista". Rumba. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  44. ^ a b c "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  45. ^ a b c "Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Review". Soundi. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  46. ^ "Jäähyväiset HIMille – Ville Valo kertoo, miksi Suomen suurin rockyhtye lopettaa ja mitä siitä seuraa". Helsingin Sanomat. 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2017-07-02. 
  47. ^ "HIM Albums Ranked". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  48. ^ "Tuotanto ruodinnassa: HIM". Kaaoszine. Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  49. ^ "Discografia HIM". ItalianCharts.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  50. ^ "Discography HIM". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  51. ^ "HIM - Heatseekers Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  52. ^ "HIM - Vinyl Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  53. ^ a b "HIM" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  54. ^ "Austrian album certifications – HIM – Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 25 July 2017.  Enter HIM in the field Interpret. Enter Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen

External links[edit]