Review Summary: It might not be another 'Empires', but it is really close to it.
Although i'm not too much of a fan of modern VNV Nation as opposed to their earlier stuff, I can definitely say that Judgement
is an iconic masterpiece, something that you could easily savor for the rest of your life. There are many positive elements this album contains, most relating to the musical aspect of it as well as lyrically too, all being prime factors as to why this album is so spectacular and a crown achievement for the legends.
Musically, this album is littered with sweeping arpeggios, creative orchestral setups, and a wide range of bouncy synthesizers. Ambiance is a huge factor with this album, as it creates a dark, gloomy, and depressive atmosphere, making this a "night=time" associated album or aka a great album for listening when the sun has set. 'Tomorrow Never Comes' is a great example of this, with reflective lyrics and incredibly catchy synthesizers that make the track grandiose for nighttime play. Although this album is very soulful, romantic, and passionate, at times it can be really raw and bitterly great (some examples being songs like 'Ghost', which is an incredibly dark track pointed straight back to the pulsating, low bass-toned synthesizer). The album has a lot going for it, and has enough energy and quality to keep coming back for more.
The lyrics on this album are very personal and could possibly make therapy for some depressed/angry people. Many themes revolve around heartbreak, grievance, pain, trying to get ahead with life, and other things of that nature. Here's the take though, really: any fan of VNV Nation will definitely enjoy this record, or at least find some decent songs off it. 'The Great Divide' showcases Ronan relating to themes about moving ahead in life aka "starting a new chapter", whereas 'Ghost' and the bitterly sweet depressing "From My Hands" both relate to grievance and lost. Obviously, the lyrics are quite bi-polar and can either share common characteristics with each other or be on total different fields; this is what makes this album great as well, the fact that they can deliver a wide range of lyrics to the audience.
Almost every track here is perfect and displays what VNV Nation are truly capable of doing. Despite there only being ten tracks, they are all well-scripted and diverse tracks that carries much potential. With the breathable synthesizers, passionate lyrics, uplifting arpeggios, and rich vocal delivery, this is easily one of VNV Nation's best.