Delta Machine - Depeche Mode
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 88
  2. Negative: 7 out of 88

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  1. Mar 26, 2013
    8
    Delta Machine, the new album from pop-electronic titans Depeche Mode marks a strong return for the trio with dark lyrics, powerful synths and Martin Gore’s trademark guitar sound. Welcome to My World kicks things off with cinematic sound, a huge chorus and industrial thumps, and deep lyrics sung by vocalist, Grahan.

    Angel, My Little Universe, Should be Higher, Alone and Soothe My Soul
    continue the album’s dark theme, and give Grahan a chance to perfect his crooning, aggressive voice. The album’s first single, Heaven, is melodic and atmosphere and slows down the pace.

    Alongside a few brooding industrial tracks, the album also showcases some pop-electronic sounds that are more reminiscent of the group’s early days—songs like Broken, Secret to the End (the album’s catchiest track) and Slow Touch Raw Nerve.

    Delta Machine’s final track, Goodbye, pulsates with incredible force, driven by a distinctive moody guitar riff, with the outro featuring a final clash of sounds and energy.

    This may not be an album that will welcome in new listeners, but it is sure to please old and new fans alike.
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  2. Mar 26, 2013
    7
    Still on the fence a little with this one. Been cruising it all day, but still struggling to get into it. Would like to see less songs and more focus on quality from these guys at this point in their career as musicians, but if you're a hardcore fan you'll get into it for sure.
  3. Mar 30, 2013
    9
    They know what to do and they're doing it well! Despite DM being in their early fifties, DELTA MACHINE is a fresh, modern, mode-y album with 6-7 classics. Dave has produced his best triad of songs so far.
  4. Mar 30, 2013
    9
    it's their best album in 15 years without a doubt. the sound it's just amazing. this mix of blues, synth-pop and dark ballads mix very well. Dave gaham voice really amaze because he really push himself
  5. Apr 6, 2013
    10
    EXCELLENT. As a fan since 1987, I had become rather unimpressed with DM from "Exciter" onwards. The three albums which precede Delta Machine had some interesting moments, but were very inconsistent and rather "by the numbers" Depeche Mode. Delta Machine puts all that to rights.

    It's a record which pushes the boundaries of the band in the way that "Violater" and "Faith & Devotion"
    did. It doesn't really sound like those records, but the willingness to take chances and genuinely experiment is what makes it comparable. Stand outs for me include "Welcome", "Alone", "Soft Touch" and perhaps surprisingly the Dave Gahan penned "Higher" and "Broken" despite its rather mediocre lyrics.

    A definite classic album which I have no doubt will be widely acknowledged as such in the years to come.
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  6. Mar 27, 2013
    7
    A grower album, should be listened a few times to digest its beauty. Stand out tracks: Broken, Should Be Higher, Alone, Soothe My Soul, (Bonus track: All That's Mine).
  7. Mar 27, 2013
    8
    Delta Machine is the best album of what some call the "Ben Hillier trilogy", i.e, the British producer in charged of DM's last 3 albums. Playing The Angel and Sounds of the Universe had some good songs, but were uneven records. With Delta Machine, Depeche Mode delivers a more cohesive product. "Should Be Higher", "Alone", "My Little Universe", and "Slow" are some of the highlights. Only misstep in this reviewer's opinion is the Martin Gore dark ballad "The Child Inside". Expand
  8. Apr 1, 2013
    9
    This album definitely is their best work since Ultra, such a profound mix of sounds and textures. What an enjoyable album this has been listening to! Highly recommended
  9. Mar 30, 2013
    9
    Delta Machine is the best album since Song Of Faith And Devotion or maybe Ultra. Songs like Secret To The End, My Little Universe, The Child Inside and Should Be Higher are great. I love it.
  10. Mar 31, 2013
    7
    When I listened to the whole album for a first time I felt disappointed, but after that every time I listen to it I like it more and more. Despite that fact I will give only 7/10 because there are not many songs in Delta Machine, which would make their place in history of music.
  11. Apr 2, 2013
    10
    I think it is extremely unfair to give this album a 5, 6 or even a 7. Only because it is Depeche Mode. Ok, this is not Violator, not Music for the Masses, not Songs of Faith. But it is a great album, plenty of ideas. Welcome to my World is one of the best DM openings in recent times. Alone is an instant clasic. Secret to the End is amazing. Soothe my Soul may sound silly at first listen, but it is very funny, less epic than the rest of the album. So far I think is album is being obviously underated. This is the best album of the Post-Wilder, since Ultra. It is a twisted, dark and breathtaking masterpiece. Welcome to our World, Depeche Mode. Expand
  12. Apr 4, 2013
    9
    The latest Depeche Mode album is a true winner. Filthy guitars, distorted beats and great synth soundscapes. The average tempo seems quite fast and there is energy in Dave Gahan's vocal performances. In short, this album has balls, something that maybe the last few didn't have. DM are back to form. The programming by Christoffer Berg is mature and classy and at times matches the work on Violator or Bjork's Homogenic. The combination of classic synths with modern production methods (heavy compression, distortion, bit crushing etc.) make it contemporary sounding and some of the pulsating basslines and cinematic pads remind of Daft Punk's Tron Legacy soundtrack. This is all good!
    Now for some criticism: it is an excellent album, but it is not great and this for one simple reason: like all albums these days, and recent Depeche efforts aren't exempt, it is simply too long with too many tracks. I don't care about commercial pressures and the perceived value for money that today's markets may want (do they?). 13 songs and just shy of one hour in length is too much for any album that is meant to be listened to from start to finish. I know, nobody does this anymore, and it is a shame. There are definitely 2 or 3 songs on this album, roughly in the middle, which are weak and anyone with some sense would have excised them and relegated them to B sides or, indeed, the second CD of the 'Deluxe' package which, as it is, only has 4 extra songs. That's a perfect way of creating the perfect album and still giving fans good value for money. This opportunity was missed here. Looking back to Violator, for example: 9 songs, 40 minutes, perfect. 13 songs, 59 minutes and you start to struggle, especially 30 minutes in when you should be getting the last couple of hurrahs but instead are treated to plodding nothing filler songs. Shame.
    On the plus side, the album has integrity, a unity of sound and a concept. Delta Machine Delta blues with (drum) machines and while this is not apparent on every track, it certainly pops up on at least 5 songs dotted across the collection which are enough to make the point clear and keep the album together.
    The thing I like the most about the sound of this album is that it is (on the better tracks) dynamic. Yes, it is heavily peak limited in the choruses and yes, there is an (un)healthy amount of distortion deployed across the many textures of the album which seems to be their wont these days, but still the verses manages to sound spacious and sparse, leaving room for the Gahan's excellent vocals (some of his best) upfront, in your face, sexy, as well as some quality synth sounds meandering behind him before the choruses kick in. All this is underpinned by heavy rolling arpeggiated basses. Conversely, the least successful songs are, for me, funny enough, the ones that are nuked flatlined with no dynamic range. I had found some songs difficult to listen to on the first few listens and, upon inspection of the waveforms on the computer, it all made sense. This is a shame as these songs jar with the overall vibe of the album described above, with the sparse dynamic sound. Consequently, these are the songs I would remove from this collection.
    So what does this all amount to for someone considering checking out the album? I am a Depeche Mode fan and it could be said that they can do nothing wrong in my eyes. This is probably partially true, but I would like to think I am more balanced in my opinions these days. Depeche Mode's work can roughly be divided into 3 phases: Speak and Spell (1981) and the Vince Clarke years, the 80s and sampling experimentations with Alan Wilder at the helm (pre-Violator), and then the Violator (1990) and post-Violator era. I like all of those for different reasons. This latest album is very clearly a post-Violator type album and will disappoint fans of the earlier 2 eras, no doubt.
    Taken for what it is though, it is one of the most successful ones and certainly the most energetic one in about 15 years. I always found Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993), Alan Wilder's swan song, spectacular and the first half of Ultra (1997) was outstanding. Playing the Angel (2005) was a strong effort but Exciter (2001) and Sounds Of The Universe (2009) were weak (albeit with some great moments). Delta Machine is right up there and, if it were shorter, would probably be their best work since Violator, full stop. The first 7 tracks are just an amazing body of work and rival Ultra for the strongest half album.
    Where does that leave non-fans? Well, they probably don't care and won't bother investigating it to be fair and that's fine. Kids are busy with Justin Timberlake and Bastille or whatever, and a new generation wanting dark synth-pop will probably turn to Hurts instead. But people who are interested in electronica, who like Daft Punk and Deadmau5 would probably this album very interesting. And the industrial brigade who like DeVision and the like will also find plenty to relish here.
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  13. Oct 11, 2013
    9
    Depeche Mode's Delta Machine is one you should not miss. It presents huge questions for the future. Is this the last album of their career, culminating with everything that came before? Or is this the first album of a new style, with hints of what was before and sounds of what is to come? Whatever the reason, this is Depeche Mode's best, perhaps ever. At least one major publication declares it DM's best. And it may well be.

    For Depeche Mode fans, the album may sustain the past with the recognizable vocals and strong beats from the 1980s. For those seeking something new and different, this album delivers.

    Although some songs are so strongly reminiscent of old Depeche Mode at the outset, like "Secret to the End," syncopated beats and contratemps begin to fill the aural tapestry to the point that something different emerges.

    "Goodbye" shoots out blues, merging with ballad into electronic mastery. This may be the best song out of a strong mixture worthy of careful review.

    "Long Time Lie" is another delicious sonic ride, reminding us that DM may be best as they move slowly through sonics, making the musical fabric move in waves with few tricks necessary.

    Listen and enjoy.
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  14. Apr 30, 2013
    8
    Before anything else I feel I have to mention that even though I’m familiar with many of their hits from over the years (People Are People, Just Can’t Get Enough, Enjoy the Silence, Strangelove, Policy of Truth, etc.) this is my first time listening to a full album by this band. So if I’m missing some kind of discography context I preemptively apologize. But from what I’ve heard in the aforementioned tracks, Delta Machine pretty much treads familiar ground, and further stays within Depeche Mode’s unique mix of synth-pop, alternative rock & new wave with a much darker approach than a lot of those genres’ other popular acts. However, this doesn’t always imply playing it safe or sounding compromised, and luckily this album doesn’t fall under that either. Depeche Mode’s best traits (again, judging by what I’ve heard) are shown in fine form here throughout, between the dark atmosphere, catchy melodies, electronic instrumentation that stays just as effective whether simple or elaborate, and Dave Gahan’s booming & epic voice that just sells every emotion being conveyed. And yet even at the album’s vastest in sound, nothing gets in the way of the core songwriting, something that can plague a lot of synth/electronic-based album production. A lot of tracks here pretty much deserve the same compliments, like the ones I just mentioned, but that’s not to say individual tracks don’t have their notable factors. The band goes for an almost bluesy sound with the guitar riffs on Slow, Goodbye & to some extent Heaven that works very nicely. The vocals can also get very raw & gruff at times, like in the aggressive delivery in Angel or the despaired inflection in Heaven, and almost always remain full of conviction & passion. The lyrics tend to fit the music, tackling moody subject matter like morality, death, various conflicts between people, and sexuality, among other things. If I had to choose a favorite song here both lyrically & musically, it’d be lead single Heaven, in which the religious narrator is going through all kinds of struggles morally, forced to choose between the ways of God or man, a message that (without going into too much detail) I can very much relate to at this point in my life. Another notable one is The Child Inside, a softer track that acts as an open letter to an antisocial loner with troubles & demons he doesn't want to talk to anyone about, which gradually eats away at him. It does a fantastic job through imagery & various scenarios of describing this tortured & scared man. One thing I appreciate about the lyrics throughout Delta Machine is that even though there’s a lot of vague & metaphoric language spread throughout, it for the most part doesn't beat around the bush in its subject matter, which I can as a listener can definitely appreciate. If there’s one complaint I have it’s in the length, which clock in at just under an hour. Even though there are plenty of key tracks to be found here, there’s a couple I might’ve left off of the final track list, with the rather unmemorable Alone being the first one to come to mind. If they shortened the album by 5 or 10 minutes I feel it would've packed a bit more of a punch as a full album listen. And this especially becomes problematic with an album this consistent stylistically. But despite that gripe Delta Machine is overall a very impressive album, which is quite a feat from a band that’s been making music fairly consistently for over 30 years & is currently on their 13th album. Maybe soon I’ll check out more of their work, since I've heard on numerous occasions what a masterpiece their 1990 album Violator (which contains some of my favorite DM hits like Enjoy the Silence, Personal Jesus & Policy of Truth) is.

    Top 5 tracks: Heaven, Welcome to My World, The Child Inside, Angel, Goodbye
    Score: 84/100
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  15. Apr 23, 2013
    9
    After a couple of listens, I have really begun to get into this album. I love the dark and smoldering feel that this has a whole. The songwriting is strong and the band still sounds amazing. By far my favorite track is Heaven, with Soothe My Soul a very close second.
  16. Jun 4, 2013
    10
    I think there's enough words to describe Delta Machine............................ it's simply the best work of depeche mode ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  17. Mar 30, 2013
    7
    Definitely not the best album with machine in the title, though it is still an enjoyable album.
  18. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    In todays electronic music genre, the sounds used naturally evolve to a more electronic sound with more synthesized and over produced vocals. With this release, DM basically puts up a middle finger to the electronic sound they helped create by dumbing things down to a simpler, rawer sound that makes them as fresh today as they were 20 plus years ago. Thats simply not supposed to happen on a bands 13th release. A nice mix of somewhere between Violator and SOFD with hints of Music for the Masses. This album is DM in all the glory and has plenty to appease the diehards by anchoring us to the DM roots as well as introducing new fans to DM. This is definitely one of DM's top 5's. Like most DM releases, they take a few listens to grow on you... this one grows quick! Expand
  19. Apr 22, 2013
    8
    I was skeptical when I first heard about Delta Machine. When David Gahan said that it was going to sound similar to Violator and SOFAD, I thought he was just trying to desperately convince people that it was going to be as good as their best albums. However, Delta Machine feels more like Playing The Angel if DM decided to take more inspiration from their early albums, like Construction Time Again and Black Celebration. It doesn't feel as slow as Sounds of The Universe, and opts for brooding piano pieces instead of acoustic guitars unlike Exciter. Overall, the album sounds great, and Gahan's voice seems to have gotten better with age. I do wish they tried something a bit more daring, but I still think they ended up producing something really nice. My main complaint, though, is the fact that most of the album's standout tracks were from its B Side. Expand
  20. Jul 25, 2013
    10
    This album has totally blown me away, I used to be Depeche Mode fan, but now I think I am devoted!
    With our modern music I became apathetic towards it, I can see the light now, there is hope in musical industry at last!
    I particularly enjoyed "should be higher", "welcome to my world", "angel", "long time lime", "child inside". What a piece of art they've created. You wouldn't think after
    so many years, their past turbulence, the break up, and now you suddenly seeing 'the return of the king', yeah boys well done! Solid 10+ Expand
  21. Apr 17, 2013
    6
    Depeche Mode make an electronica that I like dark, brooding, mind consuming. And this album is no exception. I especially love the deliciously sexually charged Slow definitely the best song on the album. The elegant ballads are a real treat and makes for a great overall listening experience. However, it's a very long album, particularly if you buy the deluxe version, and some of the songs really drag on and some tend to sound the same and are a bit more average. But there's some real gems in here and if they continue to make songs like Angel, Heaven, Slow, The Child Inside, Goodbye and Long Time Lie, their next album will be a real winner. Expand
  22. Mar 26, 2013
    5
    In contrast to the Rock and Grunge influences in "Songs Of Faith And Devotion", "Delta Machine" is more Electronic and Dance oriented album. As such, it could be a very pleasing album if we were speaking about a new artist or band, but not for Depeche Mode. I must admit that I liked some of the tracks in the album, especially Alone and My Little Universe, which sounds great but as a whole it's quite disappointing to have such album from the veteran Trio consists of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore And Andy Fletcher (5 Songs Per Artist Blog http://5songsperartist.blogspot.co.il/2013/03/delta-machine-depeche-mode-2.html) Expand
  23. Mar 30, 2013
    1
    Sadly, I couldn't find one song from this album that I wanted to own. It just seemed lifeless. Nothing seemed to propel it forward or upwards. It's just sort of there... languishing.

    Maybe it's brilliant & I just don't get it. Either way, I'll have to pass on this one.
  24. Apr 3, 2013
    3
    I pass.... Listened to all the songs and did not like even one... DM should just retire from the music scene and go do something else.... they try, but they won't ever be the DM from the 80's.
  25. Apr 14, 2013
    4
    Delta Machine is sadly irrelevant. Taken in context of their catalog, this album is the weakest ever. Their unparalleled originality and experimentation is basically gone. The sounds are stale and the songs themselves lack composure. Gone are the days of those complex, layered, magical songs. This is merely "current" styled computer music with few interesting moments. But at least we have that great singing of Dave and Martin as good as ever... there is the saving grace. If you're a die-hard you'll already have this album, but if you're just curious or only recently aware of DM I strongly urge you to realize this is not even close to their best. This album doesn't hold a candle to the all-encompassing magnitude/importance this band had in the 80's/90's. Expand
  26. Apr 20, 2013
    3
    I keep trying to get into this album but I just can't. It was the same struggle I had with their last album too.

    I'm also one that enjoyed Playing the Angel though (at least the first half for sure) and that album seems to be ignored by most fans on comment boards like this.
  27. Aug 29, 2013
    1
    I'm sorry, this is a low level.. Sad to say, because Depeche Mode used to be great, and really one of my favorites. With this album, they're just a bleak shadow of themselves. Part of this is probably the production by Hillier but the songs are also mostly slow, sluggish, stilted, bluesinfested and without any trace of development. The most appropriate title on a song here is "Slow", humping along with a slow bluesbeat, and not arriving anywhere.

    And I have tried, I've listened to the album again and again and again. It just doesn't move me. A Depeche Mode album used to be a joyride but this is just like watching paint dry. At all times I am tempted to press the forward button or skip to next track. That's not the way a Depeche album should be in my opinion.

    "Soft touch" actually has a promising start, but then it just keeps repeating ad infinitum without adding anything. "Should be Higher" is also aptly named it has a promising theme, but it should get somewhere higher. "Goodbye" Please return to form with better songs and better production.
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  28. Sep 27, 2013
    8
    Great album with a new style probably some titles that become classics not the best of their career but for me it is a great album not far from playing the angel....
  29. Oct 22, 2013
    8
    This is a fantastic album that grows with each listen. Audiophiles gather-round, this album drops some serious analogue modulation goodness. This is hands-down DM's best produced album. Dave Gahan is slowing down but no different then Mick Jagger in his 50's, still able to belt them out. The only down on the album is Martin Gore's token solo 'The Child Inside'. This song is why there is the ability to un-check the song in iTunes, and cd players have a skip button. Great Album. Highly Recommended for audiophiles. Expand
  30. Jan 7, 2014
    10
    Delta Machine is one magical albums from the kings of the synthesiser... They may be doing this for a staggering 30 years but how they can seamlessly combine techno bluesy sounds and haunting vocals is just stellar

    Songs to look out for are Heaven, Soothe My Soul, Should Be Higher and Goodbye for they hit me where I live!

    This was the album I was looking forward to the most...I was
    NOT disappointed! Expand
  31. Apr 17, 2014
    8
    It is Old School Depeche Mode, reminds me very much of their albums from the '80's. It is masterfully arranged with songs spilling into each other, and with great song list, you can see that they paid special attention to it. All I can say is that they again, made album in their alluring/spiritual/higher self kind of way which make you instantly in love.
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Oct 4, 2013
    40
    The camp is layered on thick, just as it always was, yet this time it crosses the thin line these electro pioneers once walked with ease.
  2. Apr 23, 2013
    60
    Despite many good songs on this album, you will definitely get a sense that Depeche Mode is in a holding pattern.
  3. Apr 15, 2013
    60
    Considering the odds, it shows an animated and still vigorous trio worthy of its semi-legendary status.