"Praise The Fallen (2012)" is a top-notch EBM album. However, the touches of orchestration and emotive singing found here are fully realized in later albums. Several of these tracks are standard Front 242/Front Line Assembly/Icon of Coil stomp-industrial. That said, Ronan Harris does occasionally sing (well) and the lyrics are fiercely intelligent. These qualities keep PTF2012 from being just another "genre" CD. Plus, it's fun to see how many of the film samples you recognize.
"Chosen" sets the Germanic, military tone for the whole album. Where Nitzer Ebb or Von Thronstahl would shout about victory and unity in strife and war, Harris conveys grave doubts about the benefits of conflict. This gives way to "Joy," which could make the dead get up and dance. The gentle strings floating over the pounding rhythms reinforce an anthemic Big Brother (Orwell's book, not the CBS disgrace) vibe.
"Chosen," "Forsaken" and especially "PTF2012" do just fine without a beat; the music shines through like in Vangelis' "Blade Runner" score. The one-minute silence of "Schweigeminute" will either hit you as a profound statement on the indelible legacy of the fallen masses, OR you'll wonder why these yahoos wasted a minute on an empty track.
Most EBM bands I've heard over the past...jeez, TEN years are content to lay a 16th-note bassline over a stomp beat and call it a day. VNV Nation doesn't stop there. They include melody and lyrical content, and that has brought them forward to EBM masterpieces like "Further" and "Beloved."
I will bet any one of you ten bucks that "Burnout" (track 8) is an offshoot of Front 242's "Soul Manager" from "Tyranny for You." Just my opinion.