"Of Lust And Desire" (Album, 2013)
Pride and Fall's previous album, In My Time of Dying, which saw release back in 2007, passed me by. However, this their fourth long-player has just been released on Dependent, and is for me their most satisfying so far. Having not heard their stuff for the best part of a decade - this sounded like a big step forward. I'm reliably informed (not least by the band themselves in an interview with them I recorded), that this is more of a natural progression that the leap I perceived. Whichever it is, I'm struck by the improvement across the board. Most crucially in terms of stepping out from the shadows of their influences.
Stylistic references I thought I could hear were genuinely co-incidental. There is something momentarily Haujobb about the approach in a couple of the tracks. It all begins promisingly too, with opener Sculptor Of Lust And Desire being a neo-classical instrumental for the first half before Sigve's voice comes in. There has always been a film soundtrack element to Pride and Fall's writing (suggesting a release of purely instrumental work would be well worth considering), and on Of Lust And Desire the construction of many songs allows the large scale, sweeping strings, timpani et al to be more than merely background.
It has been seven years between this and their previous album. The band have admitted they considered calling it a day with the project during that period. Fans, of course, will be delighted they decided otherwise. Having heard Of Lust And Desire, even those with just a passing interest, may also believe it was indeed the right choice. 7/10
Rob Dyer (November 2013)
"Elements of Silence" (Album, 2005)
Not sure there are many elements of silence on this second album from Pride and Fall. There's certainly elements of darkwave, goth, future pop and trance though. It may have been two years in the making but, honestly, it doesn't really show. This largely suffers from overly familiar sounds and structures. The higher BPM entries are workmanlike club and festival fodder and it's crafted well enough to ensure that they'll continue to get plenty of club exposure and gig bookings on the electro scene. Yet it just doesn't cut it. Their aspirations need to be set higher.
I've realised that I don't much like Sigve Monsen's vocal style too. It's difficult to describe just what it is that puts me off but its definitely too mannered and would perhaps work better in his native Norwegian rather than English. Had Pride and Fall realised that it was in the direction of instrumental Scarred the opportunity to raise themselves above so many others lies then there would be something to get stimulated about. But having repeated the same obvious mistake twice (it was the same with their debut Nephesh) I think I can conclude that Pride and Fall's future and my own lie in divergent directions. Shame as there are unquestionably times that their musical vision and my own do converge. Trouble is this fails to come up to the levels of Nephesh and that was already patchy. 5/10
Rob Dyer (March 2007)
"Beyond Flatline Tour 2004" (Promo EP, 2004)
Strictly limited promotional EP that was only handed out free to those who saw the band as part of their 2004 Beyond Flatline Tour. This was a split release with label mates Seabound with each artist getting two tracks apiece. I've never been a big Pride and Fall fan only because they've never quite managed to stand alone from their peers. That's not to say they haven't released some worthwhile material though, and if you are a fan of the band then you will probably want to try and track down a copy of this rarity. The two songs are Angel and a Below Zero mix of one of their most memorable songs - December. Angel isn't a remix. It isf a decent enough entry into their catalogue and its rarity value (at least at the time) was that this only appeared on this release. The opening moments of the Below Zero mix of December combine the best of VNV Nation and Destroid, which can only be a good thing. This is a higher BPM version than the original and whilst it looses some of the source's distinctiveness it manages to take it more firmly to the dancefloor. And you will still be unable not to sing that infectious chorus! (See the Seabound page for details of their two tracks.) 6/10
Rob Dyer (May 2008)
"Nephesh" (Album, 2003)
When Dependent signed newcomers Pride and Fall in 2003 it seemed part of a plan to provide a solid bedrock of futurepop/EBM to their roster; and these young Norwegians have come good on their promise since.
This debut was more workmanlike than groundbreaking, but folk seeking a typical (as opposed to atypical) Dependent fix should feel pretty satisfied by Nephesh. Signature song has to be December, a polished anthem that delivers the futurepop goods. Meanwhile, the one-and-a-half minute instrumental Matriarch vaguely echoes Rhythm of Time era 242, resulting in a high impact (if fleeting) entry.
There's plenty of club fodder too and several album tracks helped work their magic on the global club scene, helping to establish the band. Yet, for me, it's the less immediate tracks like the instrumental downtempo Serenade of Dream, opener Approach and the aforementioned Matriarch that mark Pride and Fall's potential as more than just another name on the scene. Leave the CD running after track ten and you'll get the hidden bonus instrumental track 99. Followers of Apoptygma Berzerk, VNV Nation or Covenant might want to check it out. 6/10
Rob Dyer (August 2005)
Official Pride and Fall website: http://www.prideandfall.com