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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
VNV Nation

Rating: 6/10 ?

April 16, 2007
VNV Nation has been around long enough to know how to craft a catchy song, find great beats, and write doomsday lyrics. Judgement is the Irish/English duo's latest effort, and fans of the band will feel right at home with this steely cold release. The sounds inherent in their previous albums - pounding bass, melodic rhythms, and Ronan Harris' icy-cold vocals - remain intact, but there is something bothersome about Judgement, namely the band's newfound fascination with trance music.

I say let EBM be EBM; trying to update the sound with trance influences is a tactic destined for failure. Case in point: about ten years ago I saw Front 242 live and, much to everyone's dismay, the Belgians had turned most of their extraordinary greatest hits into a trancey slush. I remember thinking that it sounded dated even back then, and asking myself what possible impetus anyone could have to do such a horrible thing. Fast forward to now and, although it should be said that VNV Nation do not quite reach such an awful degree of portentousness, they make a concerted effort. Maybe I'm a conservative purist, but trying to spice things up by tossing whirring trancey sounds at otherwise respectable songs and hoping they stick could only result in a confusing mish-mash of subgenres. Such strategies should be avoided at any cost.

Rave noises aside, there are still some good songs on Judgement. On average every other track is solid enough to warrant a listen. The titles that stand out are "The Farthest Star," "Testament," and "Carry You," all of which are above-par compositions that hold true to VNV Nation's old sound. Most songs retain the band's melodicism and great misanthropic lyrics of yore, and if the trance parts weren't sticking out like sore thumbs Judgement would get a higher rating. In it's present state the album just feels a bit dated.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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