Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2015
I've really been into Depeche Mode a lot here lately. I first started dabbling into them when I first bought "Violator" on here a couple years ago, and I was blown away and turned on within a sudden instant, in other words, it instantly won me over, and since then, it has become one of my favorite albums in my CD collection which of course continues to grow to this day. Throughout the 80's, Depeche Mode had built themselves a huge underground cult fan base with their uniquely dark style of alternative synth-pop with classics such as "Black Celebration" and "Music For the Masses", but however it would be their 1990 masterpiece "Violator" that would thrust the group into the mainstream spotlight, and it would also become DM's biggest selling album ever as well as their very best release in their career as well.
This whole album is just downright dark, bleak, and chilling in mood and nature and it shows that life is not always about being happy and sunny all the time. Every song here is just absolutely amazing and truly essential listening, all driven with amazing lyrics, brilliant songwriting, catchy, addictive, danceable beats and rhythms, dark melodies, creative sampling, and great usage of synthesizers, and piano lines, all topped off by lead singer David Gahan's amazingly deep, and imposing voice which bring every single lyric to vibrant life, though chief songwriter Martin Gore does handle lead vocals on "Sweetest Perfection" and "Blue Dress".
Kicking off "Violator" is the classic dark, and funky opener "World in My Eyes" which of course is driven by it's dark, funky, beautiful, and gloomy melody, and catchy danceable rhythm backed up nicely by the song's lyrics, and whenever you hear David Gahan sing the opening lyrics "Let me take you on a trip, around the world and back, and you won't have to move, you just sit still", you know that you are in for one serious trip here. This song is without question one of the best songs on this album, and also one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs as well. I just love it. The album's next track "Sweetest Perfection" is another amazing song and another favorite of mine that features some somewhat light marching military drums, as well as intense keyboards and electronic guitar wailings throughout with Martin Gore's vocals leading the way, and I also mentioned that Gore handles lead vocals on this song earlier. Next up, we have the unforgettably catchy, and floor stomping single "Personal Jesus" which is very well known for it's addictively heavy, floor stomping industrial dance beats, and use of catchy, twangy blues guitars, and anthemic lyrics like "Reach out and touch faith". Definitely another essential classic track for sure. Then we have "Halo" which is yet another awesomely bleak, dark, and addictive number that is wrought with great lyrics, and a wonderful chorus, as well as some symphonic/orchestral touches being added as well. Following that is "Waiting For the Night" which is a nice, quiet, dark, yet very soothing number that leaves the listener relaxed and entranced throughout with it's quiet and soothing melodic touches.
Moving onwards, we have another one of the albums' classic smash singles in "Enjoy the Silence" that brings the listener right back to the dance floor, and is also my favorite song on the whole album hands down, and DM's greatest song ever in my opinion as well. The song itself is brilliantly and flawlessly driven by a simple yet very hypnotizing guitar riff and synthesizers and Gahan's amazing vocal deliveries that carry the song straight into an amazing buildup of pure danceable bliss. The atmosphere throughout this song is just simply unforgettable, and the chrous is just catchy and pure bliss. This song would also be covered by Lacuna Coil on their 2006 release "Karmacode", and as much as I enjoy their take on this classic song, but nothing beats the original as far as I'm concerned. We're also treated with a bizarre instrumental interlude track titled "Crucified" which features some menacing acoustic guitars as well as some angry voice effects.
Afterwards, we've got "Policy of Truth" which is also yet another classic tune that begins with a nice, interesting guitar and ambient intro which moves right into a very groovy guitar and synth driven number that is just downright addictive and danceable throughout. Gahan's vocals are amazing as usual, the chorus is great, and of course let's not forget about those intense wailing electric guitars near the ending, and that entrancing guitar play that fades the song out which is really cool as well. Moving on, there's "Blue Dress" which is a somewhat eerie yet melodic dance number that features lead vocals of course from Gore, as well as an addictive rhythm, eerie synth and guitar melodies, and a dark, winter-like atmosphere throughout, and there's also another interlude that follows this song before heading into the album's final track "Clean" which is a dark and intoxicating closer that is anchored by a dark, thundering rhythm, and a dark, chilling, grey sky atmosphere backed up by Gahan's wonderful vocals throughout that just simply sucks you right in before officially wrapping things up with this album here. According to another reviewer on here, "Clean" is actually an antithesis to the downward spiral with heroin that David himself would go into before recovering from his addiction.
Well folks there you have it. All in all, "Violator" is an absolutely brilliant and intelligent masterpice from these Basildon alternative synth/pop masters, and is simply without question Depeche Mode's tour de force, and yes this is coming from someone here who loves metal music with a huge passion. There's is certainly no question that Depeche Mode truly are indeed legends in every sense of the word, and as I stated on my review for Peter Gabriel's "So", there is absolutely no reason for even metalheads such as myself to not appreciate these guys. This album here is the definition of what a good pop album should be, and is definitely light years ahead of all that overcommercialized garbage that's out there these days, and like my good friend The Terminator mentioned in his review for this album, it also proves that hard work on the part of the artists themselves does truly pay off, and become successful for all the right reasons. Bottom line, this album is Depeche Mode at their very best, and if you're new to them, then by all means "Violator" would definitely be a great place to start out with along with "Black Celebration" and "Music For the Masses" as well...Later!!!