H.I.M.
"Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights"

(Supersonic/G.U.N.)

01. Salt in Our Wounds
02. Heartache Every Moment
03. Lose You Tonight
04. In Joy and Sorrow
05. Pretending
06. Close to the Flame
07. Please Don't Let it Go
08. Beautiful
09. Don't Close Your Heart
10. Love You Like I Do

RATING: 9/10

In the wake of Razorblade Romance's phenomenal European success, it is certainly not surprising to see Finland's H.I.M. sticking to essentially the same formula on their follow-up effort, the group's third full-length CD to date and the group's most accessible offering so far. Much like Razorblade…'s more commercial tracks (i.e. German and Finnish #1 single “Join Me”, “Poison Girl”), Deep Shadows… is chock-full of emotion-laden, sonically unthreatening sounding material that revolves less around thick, heavy guitars than it does around frontman Ville Valo's passionately melodic delivery, which is still undoubtedly most potently effective weapon in the group's musical arsenal.

...

As in the past, Valo's songwriting skills can hardly be faulted, such is his knack for penning deeply dark and sensual yet utterly infectious tunes that will embed themselves in the listener's head after a mere listen or two. This time around, Ville has composed a handful of numbers that appear to be direct descendants of the above-mentioned smash-hit (i.e. “Pretending”, “Hearache Every Moment”, “In Joy And Sorrow”), without coming across like carbon-copies of the group's previous work, and as such, they appear destined to reach the top echelons of the European singles charts—a prospect that is already coming true in the band's native country (where “Pretending” had spent several weeks at #1).

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Having loved H.I.M.'s mixture of powerfully metallic guitar-charged approach and Ville's incredibly sensual delivery on the band's Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 debut, it is somewhat of a letdown to hear the band moving further away from that direction on their subsequent efforts, a fact that is further amplified on Deep Shadows… In purely artistic and commercial terms, however, H.I.M. 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.

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