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Reviews: Depeche Mode: Playing the Angel

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Reviews: 5

Review by vonwegen November 12, 2005 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
DP's umpteenth album is pretty much consistent with their most popular ones: it's catchy, somber, and deals with all the usual DP themes of alienation, sin and redemption. It has got a few clunkers like "Macro" and "Lillian" (great melody but the lyrics stink!). If you love them, you will have to buy this, especially for the chance to hear them in MC. There are lots of neat sound effects in the song intros and outros that actively use the surrounds, and the 5.1 mix allows you to hear subtle guitar lines that really are not so noticeable in the stereo mix.

Best tracks? "A Pain that I'm Used To", "John The Relevator", "The Sinner In Me" and "Nothing's Impossible".

This album probably won't win over any new converts, but it is a good, solid addition to their catalogue.

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Review by Vladimir February 24, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Yes, I like it!
This is what I excpect from a new DM album, it has the classic DM mellancollic synth pop sound, but at the same time it's a step forward, it's not just a bad copy of older albums. For those who stopped listening to new DM albums since 'Ultra' I really think you should give this album a try.
Personally I hoped for a slightly more pop influenced album, some parts of the album get's a bit to mellancollic for my peronal taste, It's not affecting my grade much though I think It's a part of the DM style and image.

The surround mix is great, and the music is perfect for surround. The rear channels are often used for a lot of cool effects, intros etc, not just ambience.

The sound quality is not as my best sacd's, but it's very difficult for me to set a grade of the sonics. Usually the transparacy of the voice is the most important for me, but here the voice on purpose sounds a bit "far away". So 3½ stars for sonics and 4½ stars for the surround mix gives an average of 4 stars for the multichannel sonics grade ;-)

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Review by Beck February 27, 2006 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
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This is Depeche Mode's best album since Violator. My only criticism is that some tracks sound incredibly similar to those on Violator! I agree there are 2 'duds' but enough single material on this album to already generate 3 x 3-part UK singles!) (2 Part CD Single and DVD singles). Incredibly catchy and depressing at times, this album lives up to the tagline on the back of 'Pain and Suffering in Various Tempos'

The sonics are interesting. As an 80's teenager, I used to play keyboards and listening closely to the album there is so much background noise/harshness that was deliberately NOT cleaned up and mellowed out. It adds a real sense of edge to the sound. I wonder if they program their own keyboards, as this is a skill which is increasingly given to techs. I'm fascinated by the synth sounds, new and 'old-school' on this album

By the way, if nobody has noticed, the Canadian and US versions of the double CD are SOLD OUT JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE so are sure to become collector's items. I already have Speak & Spell, Violator, and Music for The Masses (SACD + DVD Audio editions) on preorder from a UK supplier and if they are released in the US I suggest you hurry on these titles that have just been added (see the new entries here at

Highly recommended, and not just for DM fans...One of the best of 2005/6

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Review by Mickname June 8, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
A nice album from Depeche Mode. Especially tracks 1-5 in multichannel. When I heard the album in Stereo I hear almost no difference between the SACD stereo or the regular CD version. Only the CD version has more bass (but that can be the setup of my Denon AV receiver)In multichannel the album comes more alive! Although "Violator" sounds better. I'm curious what "Ultra" and "Songs of Faith and Devotion" will bring in SACD!

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Review by musicavenger July 14, 2009 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is not a cristal clear but a good sounding record with a good surround mix.

Not one of the best Depeche Mode albums but still recomended.

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