Review Summary: VNV Nation combines many aspects of electronic, industrial, orchestral, and pop music in this breakthrough release. There is not a weak point in this album.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
You are walking through snow covered plains, a once vast and large empire sits behind you. There is fighting and destruction all throughout the city, you can hear the cries from your distance away. You walk towards the rising sun, out of the dark and into this new light. You walk towards a new beginning. This is the vibe you get at the beginning of Empires
is the breakthrough album by VNV Nation, who is made up of Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson. On this album they expand the sounds from the previous album, Praise the Fallen
, and add more layers along with more thought out verses and catchier choruses. The album is full of danceable electronic melodies combined with harsher EBM (electronic body music) beats and orchestral strings. All of this is combined with Ronan Harris' lyrical prowess.
The album opens with an almost inchoate rhythm that expands into so much more. There is a lot of variety on this disc. Anything from the disjointed, almost Aphex Twin-simplified rhythms and beats of the opener (and closer) to the catchy, weaving synth lines of the instrumental Saviour
and the classic Standing
. There's also moments of beautiful and moving orchestral pieces such as Distant (Rubicon 2)
. This song also contains some of the lyrical genius found throughout this album.
The solitude and anger
that do battle inside me
will always guide me to the answers
that I know I may not see.
They are the bonds that hold me tighter.
They are the chains that weigh on me.
One day I know they will be gone.
I'm not sure what's better on this CD. The variety of music to be found or the well written lyrics that are in each song. It's enjoyable to just listen to each song for their musical merits or to read through the lyrics. Ronan touches on many aspects, from societal aspects to moments of self-disclosure. He has a profound way to express himself to go along with the catchy and epic music he creates with Mark. This is an excerpt from the aforementioned Standing
Eyes betray the soul and bear it's thinking.
Beyond words they say so many things to me.
A stranger here reborn it seems
awaking wonders deep in me.
If nothing's ventured nothing's gained
so I must seize the day.
There are many reasons to check out this CD and this band. They incorporate many aspects of electronic and industrial music along with pop and orchestral. Along with this, Ronan brings thoughtful, well-written, and even inspiring lyrics to the table. The last song begins the same way the first song starts and plays out. Eventually it fades into more, different music with lyrics though it carries the same feeling. You are still walking away from that crumbling empire. You are still walking towards that brighter tomorrow, toward that new beginning with a strengthened resolve and these words echoing in your head...
At first light lay proud foundations.
Sense the greatness that before you unfolds.
Seek no more for hollow answers.
Answers that lay within you all along.
Farewell to dawns seen through saddened eyes.
Farewell to pasts to sorrows chained.
Forget your fears and want no more.
You will be strong and want no more.
You'll be adored. You will have everything.
You will be strong and want no more.
Forget your fears. You will have everything.
And want no more.
You walk on alone, but you feel as if everything is in motion that needs to be. You feel as if you are living VNV Nation's motto, “One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.”