Title: Of Faith, Power & Glory
Artist: VNV Nation
Release Date: 19th June 2009
Label: Anachron Sounds
After ‘Matter & Form’ in 2005 met with a lot of criticism the direct follow-up ‘Judgement’ (2007) made up for that little slip for many and as the new album, eventually titled ‘Of Faith, Power & Glory’ was announced, speculations started about the direction Ronan Harris was going to take with the new release. The in parts rave reactions to the sound previews offered recently show that it were obviously the right one.
‘Pro Victoria’ leads off the album with an instrumental offering that’s reminiscent of a military parade with all of its marching drums and pompous string layering added on top of it and then comes the ‘Sentinel’ and if that’s not a breeze of ‘Empires’ streaming through this club-ish track then I’ll likely have to get my ears checked and the chorus with its emotional verve and depth excels everything we’ve been hearing on the predecessor for me. With ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’, a song that has been offered to listen to in full-length on VNV’s MySpace sound-wise goes back straight into the good old 80s. Groove-laden as it is that will be one of many candidates to choose for a live exhibition. The piano motif that is popping up throughout has much of a 90s Dreamhouse touch but aptly fits in the sound context here. In the chorus it seems Ronan’s forwarding a question to the heaven’s on behalf of mankind in hopes for an answer “What will become of us / If there’s no one to watch over us?...” You know what; that’s what I’m asking myself sometimes looking at what happens out there in the world everyday.
As soon as the first deep tones of ‘Ghost’ are viscously creeping out to us, a sense of ultimacy grabs us, chains us. A clock starts ticking and ultimately the slow rhythm sets in. The mood is getting thicker, its effect on our temper amplified by the emerging of a string section eventually leading into the first verse. Its degree of urgency is hard to cast into proper words but there’s no doubt that this is one greatly emotional moment on the album, so much that it can make you cry. ‘Art of Conflict’ will be a song you either like or you don’t. A technoid club piece whose purpose is clear as crystal and which is my least favourite tune on ‘Of Faith, Power & Glory’. It’s not completely instrumental though but spoken-word by Ronan is added which is a little low in the mix so that it’s a bit of a tough task to understand what he says sometimes. ‘Defiant’ pugnaciously stretches itself towards us and is one of these anthemic tracks that can only come out of Ronan Harris’s mind and where you want to jump up from your seat to dance around and sing a long to. It’s one hell of a catchy track, I can assure you
What Ronan and a piano are capable of doing is a story attendees of the show at last year’s M’era Luna would love to tell you and maybe ‘From My Hands’ was inspired by that too. A mellow ballad like a farewell bid with the piano caressing the vocals and strings hovering softly above! ’Where There’s Light’ finishes the new album and while you’re listening to the track the wish comes up to complement the title with the words “..There’s also hope” as hopes’ the spirit streaming within these notes. It seems to be a natural part of the track’s structure that is sounding pretty organic and even has some rock appeal to come up with.
‘Of Faith, Power & Glory’ is definitely not like ‘Judgement’ but it’s not like ‘Matter & Form’ either. Ronan once again took some new influences into the distinct VNV sound without changing too much but enough to not get labelled as ‘Copy & Paste’ band/project. These 10 tracks will put all the sceptics in their places and make for VNV’s best works to date.
01. Pro Victoria - 2:26
02. Sentinel - 5:27
03. Tomorrow Never Comes - 5:09
04. The Great Divide - 5:18
05. Ghost - 5:07
06. Art of Conflict - 6:41
07. Defiant - 3:44
08. Verum Aeternus - 6:04
09. From my Hands - 4:37
10. Where there is Light - 6:20