Friday, April 29, 2005

VNV Nation
Matter + Form
released: April 12, 2005
rating: **

It's hard to not like VNV Nation after they released the phenomenal Empires five years ago. Even after the slightly disappointing follow-up, Futureperfect, the EBM duo is just so damned passionate about what they do that you could feel rather guilty turning your back on guys who have songs referring to the deep complexities of life, death, war, et al. And that's more or less the case with Matter + Form. Ronan Harris' vocals (the other guy, Mark Jackson, just plays electronic drums at shows, and it's freakin' sweet) are full of passion, sure, but there's just no melodies--or even music--to go with it. And instead of dance-floor anthem after dance-floor anthem, they again start retreating to some much slower tempos (dare I say, ballads?) and three or four instrumental trance tracks, none of which really get the gears going. Strangely, one of the better moments doesn't come until track nine, which has a comforting synth melody reminiscent of their epic "Further." Still, given the lack of immediately engaging songage here, it's not going to be easy to stand by VNV, as they end up sounding like a band trying to pay tribute to themselves. -- Kenyon Hopkin

style: EBM, Industrial Dance, Electronic
similar: Covenant, Assemblage 23, Icon of Coil

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