VNV Nation return with their 4th album, solidifying their hold on the current future pop wave. This album picks up where Empires left off, but descends into a much more melancholy, almost bleak mood than previous works.
The album starts off with an intro track spoken in english, german, and french, declaring in essence 'you make of the world what you will, be that good or bad'. The second track, Epicentre, is a good quality track, both musically and lyrically, bringing across the sense of despair at the world as a whole. This is followed by the instrumental track Electronaut, commonly found on vnv albums, full of strong, almost anthem-like beats.
Liebestod, which translates as dear death, continues the instrumental portion of the album, with sweeping soundscapes full of orchestration, quite pleasant to hear. The unfortunate part of the song is that this track, combined with the next two, digs a large pit of despair right in the middle of the album. The song by itself is good, but it finds you standing at the edge of darkening views.
Holding On continues the descent, once again technically a good track, just depressing in its execution, expressing a hopeless feeling. Carbon brings forth a vision of the vast darkness to which Ronan has taken us, a desolate vastness which cannot be grasped easily.... the point - is the world's current direction truly where we wish to go?
Genesis is a well structured, vigorous song, with lyrics that hint at hope even in despair and new beginnings. This is easily my favorite track of the album, harkening back to the style of Praise the Fallen.
Structure, a noisy track in the same vein as Fragments on Empires is good if you like this sort of music (which I do), though others have expressed dislike due to its harsh sounds. The whole song crescendos with an enlivening finish which I think makes the track worthwhile.
I find Fearless a mixed track, once again dancing the divide of despair and happiness, though it seems to express a slow ascent from darker places.
Beloved is the other standout track of the album, filled with lush sounds and feeling, though again it is tinged with a sense of loss.
Airships has the feeling of a small boy viewing a wonder and imagining the worlds that would be opened up by the sight. The sense of the song - there is still hope and wonder to be found in life.
Overall, the album is both musically and lyrically strong, though I would recommend not listening to the album if you are in a sad mood. VNV's previous works had a much more uplifting quality to them than Futureperfect, but viewed in the right perspective, this album is just as strong as the others. Hopefully Ronan will find a happier place in the next album.