“Bigger is better” is a cliché that VNV Nation must hold close to heart. Composed of Ronan Harris (on vocals and synth) and Mark Jackson (manning percussion), VNV produces industrial-inflected Electronica with a thirst for the grandiose.
Witness the intent behind calling their last LP Of Faith, Power and Glory — reusing a tactic that factored into 2007's Judgement, Harris claims that every track on the disc is an interpretation of the title. Of course, that trio of characteristics is non-specific enough that any VNV record could be renamed Of Battle, Romance and Loss and an able listener could quickly draw thematic links.
Harris' lyrical content comes with a similarly malleable sense of meaning.
Verses like “I can't accept and won't concede/ In aftermath, we find redemption/ The causes that are seized/ And disguised as revolution” (“Sentinel”) and “Letting go was never easy/ Risking all for what I wanted, never needed/ Deliberated whether I should serve the cause of greater things/ As we moved worlds apart” (“Where There Is Light”) read like fortune cookie aphorisms when removed from context. These statements are intentionally enormous as evidenced by an online manifesto that proclaims, “VNV Nation does not advocate any ideology. It is a metaphor for expression.”
When the eschewing of verbal detail doesn't resonate, the duo's deft handling of sonic moods works overtime. “The Great Divide” burns with a distant pain while “Ghost” drifts between foreboding and macabre. “Verum Aeternus,” the best track, begins with glimmers of vigor and bursts into ambrosial rays of hope. Even with the electronics used to assemble Of Faith, it's surrounded by a wonderfully earthy air. “Earthy” and “electronics” aren't two words that typically meet, but leave it to VNV Nation to challenge the improbable.
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