Praise The Fallen (PTF) is a very well conceived EBM album. EBM is basically a lighter and faster variant of Industrial music, and even though PTF is significantly faster than anything put out by that bunch of anorexic labradors (by that I mean Skinny Puppy), it is not that much lighter. The beats in this record are utterly ferocious, and this is not a bad thing. However, at times, the beats tend to overwhelm the melody.
The melodies, although at times complex, are subordinated to pounding drums during some of the tracks, and this seems to grate owing to the fact that the beats are as rough as a cheese grater. If the melodies in some of the songs were played louder and more frequently, this would be a brilliant album. However, the dark and haunting sounds are sometimes drowned in repetitive drumming all to often, resulting in a record that has less melody, and dramatic impact, than it potentially had. The only songs that really manage to strike the balance (and also be the best tracks on the album IMO) are Joy, Procession and Honor. These songs are so catchy, and awfully danceable, that they would turn a retirement home into a rave. Still, most of the other tracks can get too rough, or, suprisingly, too sedate.
This, however, doesnt mean that VNV's first big album is bad. In fact, it is very good! The lyrics, although sometimes too preachy, are quite intelligent and compelling, and the times in the songs where they allow the melody to shine through are utterly breathtaking. If you are new to EBM and want to start with the sound of the Berlin Philharmonic being ripped apart by chainsaw-weilding Nazis (which this album is wonderful at creating), then I would reccomend this. However, a softer (and more depressing) alternative for an EBM novice would be Failure by Assemblage 23.
Although this record is too polar (your choice between sheet-metal instrumentals or boring ballads, with too few 'middle ground' tracks), it shows excellent promise and a vision that was fully realised in VNV's next album, Empires.