Having been a fan of DM for ages (since my introduction to them during my high school days back in the 1980s), it was good news to me when I heard about their intention to record a new album as afterall, it has been 4 years since their last effort. But on the other hand, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Their last few albums have had mixed reviews... 'Exciter', though a well-recorded album, was considered by many as being too experimental and lacking in Mode-styled, powerful dark-electro-dance tunes that have made them so popular... 'Ultra' contained some excellent tracks but was criticised for lacking uniformity and direction... 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' brought them to the height of their career but was a more rock-powered and less synth-laden experience. Although 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' and 'Ultra' are actually 2 of my favourite DM albums (despite some who hate them and prefer their older albums), I can't say the same for 'Exciter' as I did not particularly enjoy it when it was release, and up till today, I still feel that 'Exciter' is their weakest album to date. So, I was pretty worried about a similar sounding new album. But just a few seconds after putting the new CD into my CD player... listening to the griding industrial intro of 'A Pain That I'm Used To' and I thought... yes, definitely some potential here... and scrolling through quickly track-by-track, I wasn't disappointed. From a creative synthed-up adaptation of the traditional 'John the Relevator', to the classic Mode sounding 'Suffer Well', 'Precious' and 'Lilian', and the slower and darker tracks like 'I Want It All' and 'Damaged People', this new album does not disappoint. YES, they are definitely BACK! And most interestingly, we now have not only Martin's songs but Dave's as well. This is probably the album that will rebuild their reputation as one of the pioneers of synth-industrial pop, an album that reminds me very much of 'Violator' and 'Black Celebration'. Old fans who have given up, try this and you'll definitely forgive their past misadventures. And those from the younger generation who are unfamiliar with Depeche Mode, this is an album worth exploring if you love Nine Inch Nails. And those who love Marilyn Manson's 'Personal Jesus', also check out the aforementioned 'Violator'.