Artist: Clan Of Xymox
Release Date: 23rd July 2021
Label: Metropolis Records
Something happens. Something terrible and global. So, you write some music about it and that music becomes an album which reflects the terrible and global something that has happened. But then imagine also that you’ve been writing music for quite a considerable time and suddenly something terrible and global happens that is such a perfect match to your vision and a perfect fit to what you’ve been banging on about for decades that it’s spooky and prophetic at the very least.
When CLAN OF XYMOX released ‘A Day’ back in 1985, it sounded terrifyingly sci-fi, a dystopian soundtrack to a Blade Runner remake, or a rain-soaked neon nightmare of paranoia and dark claustrophobia. Now they’ve written an album, where a career full of preoccupations and premonitions fall not into some narrative of the imagination, but absolutely real-time reflections of the horrors and realities we have all faced this last 18 months. This isn’t dystopian, or the soundtrack to some movie. This is here and now, stark, terrifying, and of course, open-ended and with more questions than answers about ourselves, our governments and our approach to life in general.
Everything, from the song titles, to the dank, cloying layers of weary observation, reeks of dread. ‘Limbo’ is not a multi-faceted album, and it’s not going to offer up glimpses of hope, or flashes of warmth and human strength - plenty of others have illustrated that aspect of life during The Plague, and they’re certainly hugely important aspects of the whole. But CLAN OF XYMOX play to their strengths here, which is to do what they’ve always done - deliver layers of dense, minor-chord electronica, with an ever-present undercurrent of restrained panic. And all glued together with the unmistakeable calmly-pained, robotic vocals of Ronny Moorings, a man who could probably make children cry at a birthday party.
Fear, uncertainty, loneliness in the face of the inescapable, it’s a cheery start, the almost breezy sweep of opening song ‘Brave New World’ disguising the dry observations and creeping sense of the inevitable. ‘Big Brother’ worms its way down alleyways and deserted streets, seeking out, infecting, ‘The Great Reset’ throwing out a disarmingly memorable chorus, which would be upbeat were it not for the subject matter. The title track is similarly light of tone at first, but it’s far from it, and it’s that juggling of the shades CLAN OF XYMOX have perfected over the years, that they bring to an absolute peak here.
Step in to a nightmare of frustration on ‘No Way Out’ or feel the utter exhaustion of ‘The Great Depression’ (slightly let down by some ropey percussion, which is a real pity). And ‘How Long’ (also blighted by some inexplicably jarring 80’s drum fills) propels things towards the unfinished future, signing off with a flourish, leaving a bitter taste of uncertainty and abandonment that’s a highly effective and reflective end to such a divisive moment in our history.
Of all the ways to have creatively survived these troubling times, there can be no right or wrong way of expressing it. Ignore, be positive, be angry, be scared… we all look in different directions to best share our experiences or our opinions. What CLAN OF XYMOX have done on ‘Limbo’ is to starkly present theirs, and it feels chillingly honest, and unapologetically blunt in its analysis, and dissemination of dread and paranoia. Listen to it. Then go for a walk in the sunshine. But then go back and listen to it again…
01. Brave New World
03. Big Brother
04. The Great Reset
07. No Way Out
08. In Control
09. The Great Depression
10. The One Percent
12. How Long
Ronny Moorings – Vocals, Instruments
Mojca Zugna – Bass
Sean Göbel – Keyboard
Daniel Hoffmann – Keyboard
Mario Usai – Guitar
https://www.clanofxymox.com / https://www.facebook.com/clanofxymox.official
Total: 8 / 10