Clan of Xymox Creatures
By Rat Bastard
Clan 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
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.
Creatures 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.
Post: Clan of
Xymox, P.O Box 59076, 1040 KB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: (504) 312-2841
Fax: (504) 291-5453
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