CD Review

Clan of Xymox – “Creatures”

By Rat Bastard

CreaturesClan of Xymox's 1997 album, Hidden Faces, marked the abandonment of the pop-strocities committed during the band's stint as Xymox (the most atrocious of which was a travesty of an album known as Metamorphosis). However, Hidden Faces wasn't exactly a full return to the band's much revered pre-Xymox era (characterized by the albums Medusa and the Clan's self-titled debut) as it exhibited a much more pronounced rock influence. (Read: It had guitars...loud, distorted *rock* guitars...an abundance of them, or rather, an abundance of them for a Clan of Xymox album.)

With the release of the new album, Creatures, Clan of Xymox have managed to fully assimilate the old with the new and still add a few other surprises into the mix as well. For one thing, it seems that vocalist Ronny Moorings, prior to the recording of this album, may have taken a few classes at the Andrew Eldritch School of Vocalization and Composition.

In saying this, I am not going so far as to accuse Clan of Xymox of attempting to emulate The Sisters of Mercy (after all, I did say only a *few* classes), but I will point out that I find the album's opener, Jasmine and Rose, to be highly reminiscent of The Sisters' Black Planet. Also, during this song (and a few others) Moorings adopts a much deeper (some might say 'Eldritchesque') singing tone to match. I must say that Clan of Xymox pulls off this style quite well (while I am not particularly fond of Black Planet, I do quite like Jasmine and Rose). Besides, the rather deep infiltration into Sisterland ends with the opening track (save the aforementioned occasional vocal excursions).

Creatures is an incorporation of old and new stylings. A Taste of Medicine sounds like it could have been lifted directly from the Hidden Faces era, while Falling Down would probably not sound out of place on Medusa. Most of the songs, however, don't comfortably fit in either position, but possess elements from both, with a tinge of freshness to prove that the Clan isn't just rehashing and reconfiguring previously explored territory. The highly distorted keyboard melody of Undermined and the melodic noisiness of Doubts (which is one of my favorite tracks on the album) are subtle examples of the band expanding its boundaries without stepping too far into the great beyond.

Clan of XymoxCreatures as a whole is a rather dark and morose album. This overarching tone which is accentuated by rich aural layering and textures makes for a collection of very emotionally dense songs. Of course, one problem with this arrangement is that the tracks tend to homogenize somewhat, particularly in the mid-section of the album, which is chock-full of low to mid temp musical angst.

However, this still doesn't change the fact that I find each individual song to be well-written and well-executed. In fact, I cannot pinpoint a single bad track on the album; they just tend to blend together a bit in places while listening to the album all the way through. Besides, this feature is probably no problem at all for those who simply cannot have enough of the dark and moody in their music collections.

All in all, I would heartily recommend Creatures to any Clan of Xymox fan who appreciated both Medusa and Hidden Faces. I would also suggest that any fan of goth rock and/or electronic pop/rock at least give this album a listen, as it is a solid collection of good songs sure to please more than a few fans of these genres.

Contact Information:
Post: Clan of Xymox, P.O Box 59076, 1040 KB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: xymox@cybercomm.nl
Web: http://www.clanofxymox.cybercomm.nl
Phone: (504) 312-2841
Fax: (504) 291-5453

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