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|Until I see this kingdom is mine,
I'll turn the darkness into light.
I'll guide the blind.
-- Kingdom - VNV Nation
(Victory Not Vengeance)
Ronan Harris & Mark Jackson
"VNV Nation is one of a number of
bands (such as Covenant, Wumpscut, and Neuroactive) aggressively carving a
niche for themselves in the spaces between industrial and electronic music.
Representing a move away from the harsher guitar driven industrial, VNV Nation
combines electronic beats with symphonic elements, industrial noises, and
profoundly thematic lyrics. The result is music you can dance to in clubs,
relax to at home, and quote lyrics from to make your friends think you're
-- Theo Rhodes, PopMatters Music Critic
"I was hooked on Kraftwerk from the age of seven because they were number one on the charts and every birthday my dad bought me a new Kraftwerk album. (...) I was also into synth-pop, the whole New Romantic movement at the time, everything from Depeche Mode to Human League. I really liked the more abstract, yet not inaccessible, stuff. Then when I got older I was getting more aggressive, and I got into things like Portion Control. I loved Joy Division, because they painted this bleak but incredibly restrained emotive and emotional landscape for me. (...) As I got older I was listening to industrial, and even things like Cocteau Twins, I loved Psychedelic Furs, New Order, which werent my mainstays. I liked anything electronic, the whole smorgasbord of it. The cold, enigmatic, dramatic electronic music."
-- Ronan Harris, VNV interview on angelindustrial.com
1995: Advance and Follow
Tracklisting: 1.Anthem 2.Afterfire 3.Frika 4.Serial Code 5.Serial Killer 6.Cold 7.AmhrÃ¡n Comhrac 8.Requiem QCN 9.Outremer 10.Fiume
"I have always found this CD to be very stirring. The feeling is very militaristic and intense. From the beginning the thing that grabs you is the drum beats. It opens with Anthem and you can sense the marching feet as it plays. As you move into Afterfire there is the sound of gunfire and the voices shouting orders, you are caught up in the battle. With Frika you finally hear Ronan's voice clearly and you are struck by the power of the lyrics. After slowing down for a minute with Serial Code, the beat picks up again with Serial Killer, the digitized voice giving an almost impersonal nature to the song. There is a punk quality to the track Cold that makes you want to start a mosh pit when you hear it. My favorite track, by far, is AmhrAin Comhrac (Conflict Minstralry, in translation)... A sense of ancient Celtic war music with an industrial edge. There is a beautiful sense of flight with the ethereal Requiem QCN, which is followed by the return of the more danceable Outremer. As a final track Flume begins with the sense of return to the militaristic beginning, but you sense a victory has been won... Victory, Not Vengeance."
-- Niki N, for musicfolio.com, 3/05
¾ 1998: Praise the Fallen
"In stark contrast to the first album, PTF displays an alarmingly confident approach to song creation and performance and now stands alongside the definative industrial concept albums of the past two decades as a landmark release. Passionate and direct, the tracks on PTF are as much a clarion call to the industrial music scene as they are a call to arms in their warfare subject matter.
...the utterly spellbinding Solitary is one of the best anthemic industrial tracks I have ever heard and for many this will be up there with the likes of Front 242's Headhunter in the annals of industrial music history. The military theme is carried through to a superb and logical conclusion with Schweigenminute - one minute of silence in memory of those who have indeed fallen on behalf of so many more. Whether you are just looking for perfect industrial club music to dance to or are seeking a more profound means of musical sustenance, VNV Nation's Praise The Fallen delivers it all."
-- Rob Dyer, www.darkstarorg.demon.co.uk
¾ 1999: Empires
"Empires is every bit as original, incredible, and exceptional as previous efforts. Musically, it retains that beautiful synthesis of symphony and speed. The songs are diverse, from the grating clashes and noises of 'Fragments,' to the steady, solemn procession of 'Rubicon,' to the instrumental single, 'Saviour.' Despite its diversity, the album retains a thematic coherency throughout. Lyrically, it contains apocalyptic vision and desperately hopeful ultimata. The ideas of Victory Not Vengeance (VNV...it all becomes clear now) are explored throughout, most explicitly in 'Kingdom.' To say the lyrics are incredibly poetic is an understatement. As one fan recently put it: "making Ronan Harris the poet laureate of England would not, in my opinion, be overdoing it." While that may be a tad overzealous, the sentiment is not unjustified. The album is excellently produced, the liner notes are aesthetic and contain all the necessary information and lyrics. "
-- Theo Rhodes, PopMatters Music Critic
½ 2000: Standing (Burning Empires) EP
A double single CD including 11 tracks for over 62 min of running time, it compares more to a remix album of Empires than an EP single release. Includes two new tracks Further and the instrumental Radius².
2001: Advance and Follow (v2)
Tracklisting: 1.Anthem 2.Afterfire 3.Frika 4.Serial Code 5.Serial Killer 6.Cold 7.AmhrÃ¡n Comhrac 8.Requiem QCN 9.Outremer 10.Fiume 11.Aftershock 12.Serial Killer (Tormented) 13.Circling Overland 14.DSM02 15.Afterfire (Storm version)
"This album is aimed at our fans whether they have been with us since the original Advance and Follow release, heard Praise the Fallen at a party or were recently converted after hearing 'Standing' at a the Wedding of an EBMster or electro-goth (quite a common occurance these days we hear). With this in mind we decided to include some extra tracks to save you the bother of having to download them from Napster and Audiogalaxy. These include the two Front 242 cover versions and the Serial Killer remix which were recorded after Advance and Follow was completed. Also included are the first ever available VNV Nation track 'Aftershock' (a home recorded variation of 'Afterfire') and another more recent version of 'Afterfire' in case you aren't bored with the track by the end of the CD."
-- Ronan Harris, VNV Nation
¼ 2002: Future Perfect
"Spoken words in English, German and French open the album on the first track : 'This is your world, These are your people, you can live for yourself today, or help build tomorrow for everyone', words that pretty much express the theme of FuturePerfect.
Foreword fades into the first high energy industrial dance track Epicentre, which starts again with the existential question that inspired the creation of this record: 'I asked myself was I content with the world that I once cherished'. Epicentre is followed by two instrumentals Electronaut, a dancefloor killer, and Liebestod, an orchestral symphonic piece with a lot of heart. And then comes the most emotional and moving song of the album, Holding On, a dark melancholic ode that almost brings tears to your eyes.
Carbon is a statement for preserving our natural environment, followed by the now popular future-pop dance single Genesis. Structure is probably the oddest track on the album, a harsher experimental power noise song, definitely not in typical VNV Nation style. Fearless is a good reminder of the earlier VNV work on 'Advance and Follow', while 4am is more of a filler than anything else.
Fasten your seatbelts for the next one, Beloved, arguably VNV's best song to date. It starts up slow and builds up, with a melodic, emotional, passionate and addictive sound. And the album ends with an excellent choice of lyrics on Airships: 'I am leaving ground, stepping into a new world'.
Expectations were high for a follow up album to 'Empires', and FuturePerfect delivers. It carries the variety in style that Empires lacked, pleasing a wider audience, by wavering between harder industrial beats and mellower, more melodic tunes. It is one of the finest EBM records I've heard in the past five years... and I say it with absolute convinction."
-- DJ Avalanche, musicfolio.com, 3/02
¾ 2005: Matter and Form
Musicfolio Picks: Chrome, Perpetual, Arena, Entropy
"'Future Perfect' actually had a lot more matter and form than 'Matter + Form' does. Its foreword, design and track composition felt more complete and very much more conceptualised. 'Matter + Form' however, despite its title, seems more abstract and disparate as it's harder to find a real setting for 'Matter + Form'. As usual there's a bit of everything and it's hard to pick out singular new directions. Besides shifting a lot of the dance material into instrumentals, i.e. there's no new Genesisor Honour, some of the feeling from Airships seems to have carried over into songs like Homeward and Endless Skies and a new rock influence seeks its way into songs like Perpetual, Chrome and Entropy. All the right moves? I'm not convinced. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's bad, but it just isn't all that. If you like the instrumentals, try Juno Reactor's 'Transmissions and Soman's 'Sound Pressure' - releases that are far more advanced and diverse in this area. Arena and Homeward are cosy, but could have been great if they could only explode sometime instead of idly trotting on in a monotonous manner for five minutes each. Chrome really grows and is quite a good song, as is Perpetual, when it at the very end of the album finally kicks some real life into 'Matter + Form'. All in all, 'Matter + Form' slides in as half decent album that never realizes its potential. Many songs could grow enormously in other mixes, adding more dynamic elements and pushing the vocals harder. Instead, the album opens and closes well with a 40 minute intermission in between, give visitors of the VNV Nation 'Matter + Form' exhibition an opportunity to chatter about the artwork, lyrics and new influences. "
-- Fredric Düring, movinghands.com, 4/05
¼ 2007: Judgement
Tracklisting: 1. Prelude 2. The Farthest Star 3. Testament 4. Descent 5. Momentum 6. Nemesis 7. Secluded Spaces 8. Illusion 9. Carry You 10. As it fades
"While I still think 'Futureperfect' is the best VNV Nation album, Judgement does surpass 'Matter + Form', mainly because there is more vocal tracks, which makes the songs more enjoyable. I'm sure all of VNV Nation's songs would be a lil' less interesting without Ronan's vocals. So we get 8 varied tracks sandwiched in between two orchestral opening and closing pieces. I guess my only complaint is that some of the synth lines sound way too similar to past songs, but the continuous improvement in both lyrics and production gives these songs an epic feel. Judgement is obviously a darker album being that the theme is Judgement Day, the end of mankind. Lyrically it contains many of VNV's most popular themes, but on tracks like Nemesis and Descent we see Ronan really tapping that dark visceral vein of his. The vocals on Descent are spoken, not sung, and believe me when I say Ronan sounds seriously grim on that track! A very haunting song. The two light-hearted obvious singles are The Farthest Star and Carry You. Those are great upbeat pop songs. Testament and Nemesis are the "heavier" songs with ultra-fast beats and familiar throbbing bass and synth lines ('Praise The Fallen' anyone?), and contain lyrics that practically cry for the world's demise. Illusion is the ballad of the album. A quiet cascading piece with great singing. As far as the intro/outro pieces go, I'd say the opener is very Neo-Classical in nature (as is a lot of VNV Nation's instrumentals), while the closing piece is angelic with synth-choir effects. For the first time in a long time the instrumentals work to great effect on this album creating a solid feel and direction."
-- EerieVonEvil, amazon.com customer, 4/07
½ 2009: Reformation 01 (boxset)
"'Reformation 01' is a limited edition three disc set of live tracks, b-sides and unreleased material, and a live DVD, all packaged in a very nice embossed boxset. Included inside is a booklet with notes by Ronan on several of the older albums and on the three new unreleased tracks. As a long time fan it's very nice to have some commentary on VNVs work written by them. It definitely gave me a few "aha, so that's what the hell that song means" moments. Getting to the material, the first disc of live tracks is a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the songs are from the last two albums, which is good as VNV desperately needed another offering as their last (and first) release of live material Pastperfect was so long ago. Unfortunately, the audio quality of some of the tracks can be terrible at times. Well, let's be honest, it's really Ronan's voice that sounds awful at times. (...)
The second disc includes the remixes, b-sides, and unreleased material. The remixes are all great... Also included are some of the tracks Ronan did for the completely unsucessful film The Gene Generation (...) The real meat of the second disc are the three previously unreleased tracks, Still Waters, Suffer, and Precipice. These are hands down some of the best music to come from VNV in the last 8 years. Unfortunately, as Ronan notes in the... notes, these songs reflect a direction he wanted to steer VNV away from, and they formed the basis for "an album that never was". I find this complete baloney as these songs sound straight up like they would easily fit anywhere in the last two albums. (...) Overall it's a very nice package, and for $20 it's easily worth the money. It's just a shame that some of the audio couldn't have been better..."
-- Herr Zrbo, cosmicamericanblog.blogspot.com, 5/09
¾ 2009: Of Faith, Power and Glory
Tracklisting: 01. Pro Victoria 02. Sentinal 03. Tomorrow Never Comes 04. The Great Divide 05. Ghost 06. Art of Conflict 07. In Defiance 08. Verum Aeturnus 09. From My Hands 10. Where Is the Light
"The latest release 'Of Faith, Power and Glory' set to release on June 23rd in the United States touts itself as the first CD release with the lowest carbon footprint ever on a major label release. The new album is packaged in 100% fully reclaimed and recycled material, along with water based inks and glues. Undoubtedly, VNV Nation has set and reset the bar for electronic, EBM, and Industrial acts time and again as one of the longest standing acts in the field of Electronic music. Having inspired wave upon wave of new dystopian Rivetheads to stomp combat boots and jingle combat metals to the thump and throb of their unique aggressive beats. Taking this time around to make a firm stand for a completely green yet thunderous industrial release is a new trend for the genre, but one hopes a call to action as well. Green may perhaps be the new black for this generation of pierced and tattooed activist club crawlers. The sound of 'Of Faith, Power and Glory' is every bit as bombastic, polished, and powerful as VNV Nations legendary prior releases. The powerfully gritty opening track Pro-Victoria sets the album ablaze while Sentinal heats up the floor stomping cacophony. Art of Conflict slams and throbs while the heavenly and hopeful sound of Where there is Light shines towards a blazed trail to a brighter future. The band touts the title to be The 3 things that people desire and which can make you or destroy you! VNV Nation is no stranger to deep soul searching lyrical meaning as many of their prior releases have struck chords in almost every musical genre. This latest release seems to call for deeper digging into the psyche of western mind and probing us to contemplate the ends which we aspire to achieve. Its in short, a very intellectual release for a time when introspection might mean the difference between destruction and restitution."
-- Dr. Raven, fangoria.com, 6/09
½ 2011: Automatic
Tracklisting: 1. On-Air 2. Space & Time 3. Resolution 4. Control 5. Goodbye 20th Century 6. Streamline 7. Gratitude 8. Nova (Shine a light one me) 9. Photon 10. Radio
"... When the opening track of 'Automatic' began, I beheld a deep and energized feeling. I could almost smell the diesel fumes of the artistic mandate that VNV Nation stated before the release. Listening to the rest of Automatic I can say that VNV Nation has once again released a solid piece of work. And those who like the poppier turn the band took with 2005s 'Matter + Form', and 2007s 'Judgement', will not be disappointed. Early purists like myself might find that no one track really shines out, and yearn for perhaps one or two ground-breaking experimental tracks that the band always seems to be able to pull out with earlier releases. The part I most enjoyed about Automatic was the slower tempo songs, and less the dance beats. One can always count on VNV to throw in a couple of thought provoking, sometimes tear evoking ballads (for lack of a better term). The faster paced pieces are growing on me slower than Id like but I also need to check myself against the excellent lyrical narrative of the entire album. VNV Nation have sometimes been criticised, even satirized for overly dramatic lyrics, but I say bar-none, this is what VNV Nation does and does well, and this is what we come back for with every release."
-- DJ Hangedman, mechanicalnation.com, 9/11
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