Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights

This is Finnish band H.I.M.'s third release (but second in the states), and boy is it a departure from their last two records. Unlike the louder more metal inspired records they've been known for, this record takes all the quiet moments from say Razorblade Romance (like "Gone with the Sin") and makes a record out of them. And they make a really good record, a bit different from their older songs, but still excellent.

"Salt in our Wounds" opens up the disc with a kind of creepy edge, until the chorus which is very melodic and catchy: "Love is insane and baby so are we too". This is a good intro to the record, starting us off in style.

"Heartache Every Moment" begins with some piano notes before the arangement kicks in and then we have the verse: "From lashes to ashes to lust to dust, in your sweetest torment I am lost", then the catchy melodic chorus "It's heartache every moment, with you". This is one of my favorite songs on this album, it proves that Ville Valo can write a love song without resorting to any cheesy effects (like a line like "join me in death"). This (much like the whole record) is a much more personal song, and sounds like it's actually to a person rather than a made up situation.

If "Heartache Every Moment" sounded more real then "Lose You Tonight" makes the emotions even more true as Valo pleads with his lover "don't run away, cause I can't live without you, please stay and I will learn to love you right." Then the chorus "I've been waiting for you, dying for you all of my life.. and I'm not going to lose you tonight". This is a much more real song, seemingly about a bad night, which any man who has loved a woman knows about.

"In Joy and Sorrow" is one of my absolute favorite songs on this album. Valo dedicated it to "all the men who are still virgins" for whatever reason, I'm not sure. It's another beautiful and haunting song, with a great chorus and a great verse. Absolute perfection in a song. At least to my ears.

After the more "ballad-esque" "In Joy and Sorrow", we have "Pretending which is a harder song, though not really hard, just with more use of electric guitar (like the first three songs). This is another very good song, with a wonderful chorus "So keep on pretending, that heaven's worth the waiting, so keep on pretending, it's alright". Well maybe the words don't sound so special, but combined with the music it's very nice. I like this song along, though it's message fairly dark; "it always ends up in tears".

How can this be, an even more beautiful and haunting song than "In Joy and Sorrow"? Yes, that's what we have with "Close to the Flame". Ville opens this with "the Kiss sweetest, and touch so warm.. A smile kindest, in this world, so cold." The chorus is powerful without going above a near whisper, as Vallo sings "So close to the flame, burning brightly, won't fade away, leave us lonely", which I think is a paen to his lover, that she can warm even the coldest moment, and that he can count on her love. Of course this is at odds with the previous songs, but makes sense, even after many bad moments we can still have wonderful moments of complete love.

"Please Don't Let It Go" is another great song, but a kind of downer after the hope contained in "Close to the Flame". Valo sings, "we're drifting apart, but I want you to know, wherever you are I belong." And he promises "wherever you go I will follow". And then he pleads in the chorus "so please don't let it, please don't let it, please don't let it go, cause if you don't let it, I won't let it go." Which to me means that if you don't stop loving me I won't stop loving you, even though now we're drifting apart. I like this song like most of the songs on here because it's not as simple as it may first seem. Taken with the other songs it's a much more mature portrait of a relationship. I think Valo must have had a very intense relationship during or around the recording and writing of this album, as it is so much more truthful than the more melodramatic moments off of Razorblade Romance. A great song.

Now he's done it, a pure song of love with "Beautiful". It is simply a song about how beautiful his lover is. Any boy who wants to make his girlfriend cry could play her this. Believe me. This song reminds me of several songs off of the Smashing Pumpkins cd "Adore" musically. I personally loved that record, and I love this one too.

"Don't Close Your Heart" echoes the sentiment on "Please don't let it go]" as Vallo again pleads his lover to not let go of love, to "don't let me down", and "don't close your heart." I like this song alot as well, though it's even more of a downer than some of the others, despite its poppy and pretty arangement.

And now we have the best song off of here. Not only that, it is the closer, and what a closer it is. "Love You Like I do" sounds slightly like it could be a Johnny Cash song, and I think that's on purpose. It is so dark and depressive, as Valo, sounding slightly unswayed by his own words sings "No One will love you, like I do." And counts up his mistakes. "It'll never be the same, witness trust fade away". It sounds like after all he has said and done, his mistakes have won over, and now he's on his knees pleading. It's a dark perfect song ending a dark perfect record.

There you go, Ten songs of perfection. A classic release that I hope will get the attention it deserves. No one but H.I.M. could do something like this, I highly suggest this to anyone at all.

Track Listing
1: Salt in our wounds
2: Heartache every moment
3: Lose you tonight
4: In joy and sorrow
5: Pretending
6: Close to the flame
7: Please don't let it go
8: Beautiful
9: Don't close your heart
10: Love you Like I do

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