Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HIM - Deep Shadows Brilliant Highlights biography

Ville Valo, HIM frontman. The top prince by the underworld was lying down on the flooring of an Dutch capital hotel room swarming with policemen and paramedicals, wearing nothing but his underpants, tattoos and two pairs of handcuffs. And all he wanted was a chicken toast.

It was all one big misinterpretation. After all we’re discoursing the same tortured soul who had throughout the extended tours abiding by HIM’s million selling album “Razorblade Romance” stayed clear of posh parties and remained voluntarily in his solitary hotel room (sans police, paramedicals, handcuffs) working on the songs that just kept coming. Spiritual songs about friendship, trust and love.

They're songs of longing – but they're delivered with attitude. For every moment of sorrow there’s always a mischievous smile, and akiller left hook to knock you out cold. That’s probably why the album is called “Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights”- a photography term used to describe those old black and whites of the likes of Greta Carbo. The album, too, is heavy on sharp contrasts.

When you listen to the new songs like ‘Heartache Every Moment’, ‘In Joy And Sorrow’ and ‘Close To The Flame’,  you can’t help but notice that the ‘Love Metal’ of HIM’s first two albums has turned into something significantly deeper, a scorching yin and yang concoction the band likes to refer to as ‘Scandinavian Blues’.

Instead of anything resembling 12 bar forays into the Mississippi delt the Scandinavian blues approach on “Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights” is a direct result of HIM getting back in touch with its collective roots. That has meant a healthy diet of Kiss, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin for Valo and his compadres, guitarist Linde (a.k.a. Daniel Lioneye), bassist Mige (a.k.a. Michael Eros), drummer Gas (a.k.a. Buddha Cognac) and keyboard player Burton (a.k.a., well, ‘the new guy’).

Hot from touring the band turned the very first demo sessions immediately into album sessions proper. Capturing the magic, they call it. The bulk of “Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights” has been produced by HIM and T.T. Oksala but it contains also two songs – including first single Pretending – produced by Kevin Shirley (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi), plus additional production touches provided by John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie). The mixing board was manned by Randy Staub (Metallica, Bon Jovi) and Chris Lord-Alge (Tina Turner, Keith Richards).

“Rock and roll remind me sometimes of freemasoney. It’s a big secret society with its rites of passage and myths you’re not supposed to reveal to outsiders. “Valo flashes another one of his infectious sly smiles. “So I guess my lips are sealed.

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