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depechemode deltamachine
Artist: Depeche Mode
Title: Delta Machine
Genre: Pop
Release Date: 22nd March 2013
Label: Columbia / Sony BMG

Album Review

Here it is... After months of waiting, talking, debating, anticipating... The ‘Delta Machine’ has landed on planet earth. What to expect of a DEPECHE MODE album in 2013? Let's be really clear about it: those still dreaming of a pure ‘Violator’ / ‘Music For The Masses’ / ‘Black Celebration’ style can forget about it. DM has moved - and it may explain the longevity of the band - to different landscapes, and it's not that new. ‘Exciter’ explored minimalist and sophisticated electro with Mark LFO Bell, and then the band started what we can consider today as the Hillier Trilogy. ‘Playing The Angel’ saw a rejuvenated band, mixing the foundations of DM (Precious, Suffer Well...) with a edgier, bluesier and dirtier sound. ‘Sounds Of The Universe’, although it disappointed a lot of fans, saw them reaching a new audience and turning them into a stadium act, and, let's be honest, contained some really good tracks (Wrong, Perfect, In Chains, Come Back, Ghosts, In Sympathy...) So? What about ‘Delta Machine’ now?

It's not an easy album to enter in and understand, let's face it... I voluntarily waited two weeks before reviewing it... and most of all, not based my feelings on the MP3 leaked version, but on the real CD. And I was damn right doing so! What was leaked 3 weeks ago was awfully compressed and it would not have pay justice to it rushing to be the first reviewing it... If you open your mind and ears enough, you'll realize it contains some of the best melodies, vocal performances, and atmospheres heard from the Mode in a long time. If guitars are still here, they are much better mixed in the electro wall of sound delivered. The voice of Dave Gahan reaches some new levels (Should Be Higher, Soothe My Soul, Angel, My Little Universe), and most of all there is a depth and a real atmosphere that takes you to a real musical journey.

Some strong songs promise already to be great live moments (if performed), such as the new single, ‘Soothe My Soul’, a serious contender to ‘Personal Jesus’. It's also interesting to see that Dave's songwriting often produces the best songs of DEPECHE MODE. To his credit this time, no less than ‘Should Be Higher’, ‘Secret To An End’, ‘All That Is Mine’, ‘Broken’ and ‘Happens All The Time’. I'll place two main regrets: Beats and most of all snares! Can someone please close Martin's eBay account now? Minimalistic rhythms and snares fail to have some of the tracks really kicking as they should (Raw Nerve, Welcome To My World and many more). And then... The mix! I cannot believe Flood being responsible of this! It lakes "space".

I'm not being a hardcore "Please Alan come back!"... There are hundreds of excellent producers around the world than could have done a better job and make it sound much bigger than that. It's certainly better than ‘Sounds Of The Universe’, but when the band compares it to ‘Violator’ and ‘Songs Of Faith And Devotion’ (no surprise that some fans regrets Alan Wilder when the band himself always refers to those master pieces) they place the bar a bit higher than it is. Overall, the sound is pretty good, but sometimes, for no reason, some synth-sounds suddenly appear higher in volume, almost hurting your ears (‘Should be higher’ and ‘My Little Universe’ are the perfect example). Dave's vocal would have deserved a bit more reverb and space (Welcome To My World).

Ok... one last moaning: who decided on the track listing? ‘All That Is Mine’, ‘Always’ or ‘Happens All The Time’ would have deserve thousand times more to appear on the CD1 rather than ‘Angel’ or the awful ‘The Child Inside’. As many fans already said, ‘Always’ is probably one of the best song performed by Martin since ‘Home’ whereas ‘The Child Inside’ is the same boring Gore's song repeated all over since ‘Exciter’. But the main thing is a real good news: yes DEPECHE MODE are still capable of putting out some brilliant albums with powerful songwriting, offering some new landscapes for the ears and the soul is still there. After all, their imperfections makes them human, still a bit indie.

The story continues...


01. Welcome to My World
02. Angel
03. Heaven
04. Secret to the End
05. My Little Universe
06. Slow
07. Broken
08. The Child Inside
09. Soft Touch/Raw Nerve
10. Should Be Higher
11. Alone
12. Soothe My Soul
13. Goodbye

Bonus CD
01. Long Time Lie
02. Happens All the Time
03. Always
04. All That's Mine


Dave Gahan – Vocals
Martin Gore – Keyboards, Drums and Vocals
Andrew Fletcher – Keyboards


Cover Picture

depechemode deltamachine


Music: 9
Sound: 7
Extras: 9 (Limited Edition with Bonus CD)
Total: 8.3 / 10

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