Review: IAMX – Metanoia Tour 2016

Last time I saw IAMX live, I was complaining about the static audience, but nothing had prepared me for March 14th. Nothing!

IAMX has released two more albums since our last encounter, one of which is practically amazing, and the other one is Metanoia. I thought about reviewing it a few times, but somehow it felt redundant for me to do it.

iamxMetanoia is a weird, weird album. It is said to be rooted deep into Chris’ depression, and it certainly sounds like it. However, early fans will love it, because it sounds so much like The Alternative and Kiss + Swallow, without the lyrical depth that made me scream „Chris, you decadent god!„. Newer fans might be a little confused, though… Metanoia is so rough, so blunt, painful at times and confusing. The album is missing the poetry that makes Chris what he is.

This is the first time I had to wait (not counting the pouring rain at the Killers & White Lies concert) so much to see one of my favorite bands. IAMX got a little lost on the Transylvanian roads, but the wait was totally worth it. Even though the band started playing 3 hours after the intended timeline.

As usual, Chris was so visual. The background played on loop disturbing images of love and loss, of hate and despair, of desert, naked bodies and broken hopes. How else would you know you’re at an IAMX concert?!

He started violently with I Come With Knives, one of the best songs he ever wrote. His keyboard players were demanding all of the attention, yet his voice managed to rule us all.

I never really liked The Alternative – not the song, and not the album, but this time it felt different. This time, Chris had a beautiful crowd all to himself, all of whom paid to see and hear him, and all of us were his devoted fans. In this light, the song made so much sense than it did a few years ago.

Happiness was the first song off Metanoia, and one of the few I really like. Depressing, raw and broken, Chris sang of despair and what more could I ask for? I was truly happy then.

No Maker Made Me is my personal anthem off Metanoia. I truly love the song, the message, the sound of it. I like its bluntness and the raw feeling I get when I listen to it, especially the screaming part of „you fucking sinner”…

In the Tear Garden we meet again. A song with so much meaning, so special and sad, it could only be followed by OCDEM.

Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me feels very ambivalent to me now. I sorta have a love-hate relationship with it, though the song is great. Sometimes it feels like irony, sometimes it plays out like demand-able hope. Who says it’s not the both of them?

Last time when I saw IAMX, Spit It Out ended the concert. It’s still my favorite song, my sad song, my beautiful song, and I really thought that’s the best I can get out of it. Yet, somehow, Chris outdone himself. Spit It Out grew up and this metamorphosis was incredible on so many levels. The song sounded like Chris was covering an oldie, so different, so mellow, still angst-y and depressing. I wish I could listen to this version and dissect it all day long, because it’s so different, yet so familiar.

Nightlife is one of Chris’s most used songs in movies and TV shows. You can hear it in How To Get Away With Murder (I think), in vampire movies and so on. This track reminds me of 90s ravers, even though I was never part of that scene. It has urgency, it’s raw, it’s primal and wild, and one of the best songs written by Chris. Even though it’s not universal, I really appreciated the inclusion on this set-list.

The holy trio of Metanoia was up next. Insomnia, North Star and Aphrodisiac followed up what was, I think, one of the best concerts I’ve been to. Insomnia is so demanding, so lost, but there comes North Star, determined and mature. Only Aphrodisiac can be played next, because it’s the only song suited for this color scheme. All three songs have different shades of grey, but Aphrodisiac is so evil, plotting weird stuff under tones of make up and promoting promiscuity in a way that allows you to go through the gates of heaven.

And because Chris is the master of emotional roller-coasting (is that even a word?!), he ends this with the amazing Your Joy Is My Low. This is one of the first songs I listened from IAMX, so I hold it dear and close. Keyboards all over the place, jerky rhythm, a bassline to die for and the amazing poetry that made me fell in love. With such lyrics, who can judge me?

You shift the play, push the curve to sit between your thighs
It’s a sign, it’s time to exercise the lines
You want the double cut through to wet, invade and slide
You slide and I’m awake and I’m the slave tonight

You lie, you lie to spare my life
You needed it, he tasted you inside out

Say it, your joy, your joy is my low
So you want yourself to stop
Say it, your joy, your joy is my low
And when you crack the whip, I crawl again

How can you remain complete after hearing this live? After witnessing Chris’s debauchery with such unaffectedness that makes me run after his bus tour and beg him to take me with them?

Of course, this could only be followed by Kiss + Swallow. Electronica through the roof! The bass rules this piece, and the way Chris says „zero” is so sinful and lovely…

It’s only natural I should admit by now the fact that listening to I Am Terrified live scared me. Not because of the lyrics, but because of the mismatch. It felt weird to hear it after the Kraftwerk-like gem that is Kiss + Swallow, however it wasn’t that bad. Just awkward. And sad. Terribly sad.

If the first encore came with Kiss + Swallow, the second one saw me amazed by the fact that Bring Me Back a Dog is still a thing. It’s one of my favorite songs, and this time Chris had a whole army spitting these beautiful lyrics back at him with voracity and passion. It was amazing!

The night ended with Mercy, one of the songs I avoid at all costs. Well, I avoid it after the first 60-70 seconds. It’s beautifully written, of course, and the vocals are perfect for it. But the chorus makes my heart ache, I almost feel like crying, so I try to keep myself sane by avoiding it.

I thought that this concert will bring me nothing new. Boy, was I wrong! Last time, I complained that Chris needed a better audience, but this time everyone present was there to support and love him. We were all one soul, mixed together with agony, anticipation, love, distrust, disappointment, hope and Chris. I’m so glad I was there, this was the concert I’ve been waiting for two years now.

Pic. The whole setlist here.

HURTS + IAMX – Album Review

Science Fiction Double Feature, as one old song used to say. But my science fiction is my music, as usual, so my double feature will be comprised of HURTS and IAMX. Both of them are musical projects with their names written in capitals, so I’m guessing they mean business.

I remember the first time I heard about HURTS, while working for this website as a content editor of some sorts. They were having this concert in Romania, and it was sold out very fast, unusual for Romania and also for a band relatively unknown.


Pic here.

So far, I’ve missed their two concerts here, but I somewhat enjoyed their first album, Happiness (only about half of it, but still ok).

Another thing I remember is the comparison with Depeche Mode and White Lies. Even though I’m not a big Depeche Mode fan, I could recognize that their sound, electronica-ish as it was, it wasn’t depeche-y. But I am a big White Lies fan and for me, to be said that they are surpassed by these relatively unknown boys who like to dress up nicely to hide their pending deviations, it was too much! I was outraged by these suggested resemblances, so after the first listening of the album, I didn’t gave them a chance. That changed afterwards and I still have 2 or 3 songs from Happiness I like to listen to when I wanna feel down.

Their new album is called Exile. I’d like to think it’s their ugly child, because some of the lyrics are quite disturbing, and also the music is different. They sound so much darker than on Happiness, so now I’d like to think about them as balladeers crossed with Timbaland beats and weird, real electronica sounds. The vocals are outlandish, the music is so harsh and rough and wild and also well studied.

Exile (8) has this low volume, but such a high intensity. It’s not the peak of the album, but it’s the starting point from it can grow bigger and bigger.

Miracle (10) has passion and wilderness and fear and it’s disturbing and intense, and for that I wish I
could give it more than a 10. Also, I wish they didn’t remove the first video, it was perfect for the song. It was decadent and outrageous and I want it back!

Sandman (9) is a very disturbing composition, with Theo’s voice flowing and ticking like a clock along with the music, I almost have the impression he is dreaming.

Blind (7) starts really, really good vocally and musically, but then the lyrics hit in and… Nothing. Somehow, I don’t find it appealing listening to „Cut out my eyes and leave me blind”.

Only You (5) is not a memorable song, because it blends on the album between Blind and The Road. Lyricially speaking, I would say it’s a little bit more than the previous songs, but nothing remarkable.

The Road (9) is one of the songs that got promoted by the band. At first, I didn’t know whether I liked it or not, but when the chorus hit me, it was like a hurricane. And I couldn’t help but notice the ever present dubstep sound.

Cupid (6) is yet another song I didn’t bother remebering. The lyrics are quite simple, but the music fades away and merges perfectly with the album.

Mercy (7) sees the boys returning to their balladeers roots, along with the same dubstep rhythms on the chorus. I liked the spelling part of the word mercy, the vocals on that one verse are amazing.

The Crow (5) is another lyrically-full song, a ballad in the complete sense of the word. However, for my taste, is a little bit boring.

Somebody To Die For (8) is a song full of promises and hope, and I love it just for that one special feature of it.

The Rope (6) is yet another song about hope and all the other things that make you go on (yeah, I don’t know them, I have no name for such things), but it doesn’t have the special trait of Somebody To Die For. It does, however, have the dubstep-ish sound ever present on the album.

Help (5) is the last song of the standard edition of Exile. I was left under the impression that I wasted a lot of time listening to the second part of the album, so I can’t tell you what this part is all about.

I can definitely see progress here, more instruments, edgier sound, provoking lyrics, amazing vocals and choruses, but I will stick to my first half of the album, if I need some introspection and depression. All in all, 8/10 for HURTS and their Exile.

The second part of this double feature is IAMX. IAMX is a violent, decadent artist, with knick for saying the truth about a bunch of things, including love. His love is usually sick and twisted, and that’s the best part of it.


Pic here. I will forever and ever love this photo!

I listened to IAMX for the first time in 2008 and I was much appalled. In February 2009 I missed their concert, but in August (or September?) 2009 I listened to Missile and You Stick It In Me and I fell in love.

June 2011 saw me at their concert, watching and singing along and being genuinely happy. Volatile Times was a beautifully constructed album, but the live experience surpassed it by far.

So 2013 sees my beautiful Chris releasing The Unified Fields, another appropriate name for a beautiful piece of poetry-philosophy-depression infused music.

I Come With Knives (10) portrays Chris’ decadence perfectly, so what’s not to love about it? It’s beautiful and violent and it even has a verse in German (beautiful poetry, btw).

Sorrow (10) is here to say that, if you ever doubted Chris’ poetic abilities, you are so very wrong. Please let me enjoy my sorrow, with a Chris classic-to-be.

The Unified Fields (8). I can’t say much about this one, I’ll just let the lyrics speak for itself.

We are all insane
Counting down every single living day
We are prisoners of fate
I smile at the way everybody accepts the pain

Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t feel
Just because I don’t feel doesn’t mean I don’t understand
We are one in the unified field

The Adrenalin Room (7) is one of the songs that makes me think Chris took up Chemistry lessons. Oh, and also he studies anger!

Quiet the Mind (10) is definitely my favorite song off this album. How can I not love it? It deserves a special place in Chris’ work, alongside Spit It Out, Bloodsport, Missile, Volatile People, Tear Garden…

Under Atomic Skies (7) explores the same chemical issue, while suggesting nakedness. It wouldn’t have been Chris, if it were otherwise!

Screams (6) I don’t get. I listened to it, it’s tempo second-dependent, but it didn’t move me. I’m guessing he wanted to say too much, in too little time.

Come Home (9) hit me just were it should’ve. I feel like talking to myself, since I am for too long lost.

Animal Impulses (8). No explanations, just this.

I’m tired of this human duet
No civilizing hides
Our animal impulses.

Walk With The Noise (9) fool’s world, game, blows ripping, souls, killing me, terror, propaganda, flesh and blood. Excerpts of the song, powerful SOB!

Land of Broken Promises (8) starts out as weird, then we have a silent guitar, while Chris tells us the story. I have the feeling I listened to this song already, but I’m guessing it’s because the recurring theme in his work (The Stupid, The Proud).

Trials (8) of course it’s about demons in us, about acceptance and a half-hearted hope!

I couldn’t help but notice the score-y sound this album has. It’s full of instruments and it’s grandiose and it has power, I saw fit for Tarantino movies at least two of tracks (Walk With The Noise & The Adrenalin Room, maybe Land of Broken Promises too). 9/10 from my part. Please enjoy it!

The Fear Is Poetry

The fear is poetry,
Said my crow.
And feathers were running away from it.
An island of non-sense,
Do I make any sense?!
The crow asked me
And flew away from me.
It left me with horns
And spikes
And trembles.
No pieces of tomorrow,
I’m just cloathed in sorrow.

Please ignore my vegetative state. I did listen to the new HURTS album all day long, but now my interest shifted towards IAMX and I Come With Knives and Noblesse Oblige and all the decadent sounds in my life.

Friday music

Weird music and videos for a beautiful Friday… Enjoy!

MGMT – Electric Feel (omg, that bass line!)

The Killers – Spaceman (awesome video of the awesome Killers when they were not that awesome)

Maroon 5 – One More Night (yeah, sue me!)

Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc. (what else can I say?)

The Cardigans – My Favourite Game (Memory Lane)

Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (childish, but still fun)

The Knife – Heartbeats (the weird official video, not the awesome live version)

Kleerup ft. Lykke Li – Until We Bleed (to be listened to only after 2 am – when everyone knows nothing good happens)

Kings Of Leon – Notion (preparing to get really-really wasted? you’ve found your perfect song)

Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen (girls need action, too!)

Skrillex feat. Sirah – Bangarang (don’t wait for the drop)

Nelly Furtado – Big Hoops (Bigger The Better) (it’s bigger and it’s better!!!)

White Lies – Death (summer, oh, how I miss the summer…)

Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up (yes, he beats women, but this song is perfect for a Friday night out)

Rammstein – Engel (no Friday night is perfect without Rammstein)

Rammstein – Sonne (for an awesome Friday, take 2 Rammsteins)

Calvin Harris – Feel So Close (you know why!)

Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines (how can you not like this?!)

IAMX – Spit It Out (sad and depressing, perfect for 4 am)

Muse – Starlight (this should start your night)

Robyn – Cobrastyle (better than the original)

Angels & Airwaves – Valkyrie Missile (please, reserve this awesome song for your own pleasure, at home, in complete silence. enjoy it.)

Rihanna – You Da One (dance, baby, dance!!!)

No Doubt – Settle Down (because of the ska)

spit me out

Uneori, ne intoarcem de unde am plecat. Si ne intoarcem la lucruri care dor, si care sfasie, si care ustura, si care macina, si totusi nu ne putem abtine sa nu ne intoarcem…
Doare si sfasie si ustura si macina si nu ma abtin, dar sunt din nou acolo.
Obsesiv, repetitiv, ca o lama de cutit prost ascutita. Violent, ca un zvac salbatic. Ca atunci cand te scuipa lumea, in loc sa te inghita.

And if you’re hurting
I will replace the noise with silence instead

Flushing out your head
If you like it violent
We can play rough and tumble
Fall into bed
And I won’t breathe so you can recover

When you’re in pieces
Just follow the echo of my voice
It’s okay
Tune into that frequency

Don’t fight your reflex
Embrace the instinct
You can feel your way
Through the bitterness we face in the end
‘cause it breaks my heart
That we live this way
I know people need love
‘cause them people never play the game

And we talk the talk
We communicate
The people need love
Those people never play the game

Pleasure for pleasure
It eases consequence
And love for a fall
But I know you love to take a risk
The past is weakness
Don’t beg the question when the answer is war
There are moments when I’m overcome

‘cause it breaks my heart
That we live this way
I know people need love
‘cause them people never play the game
And we talk the talk
We communicate
Them people need love
Those people never play the game
And it breaks my heart
And it breaks my heart
In love

Concert IAMX – a little review

Toată lumea care mă cunoaște știe foarte bine că îmi plac concertele. Îmi plac concertele FOARTE MULT. Astea și cu Buffy sunt probabil cele mai mari plăceri ale mele – în materie de entertainment.
Ok. Aseară am fost la IAMX. Sponsorizat de Beck’s, cu Monarchy în deschidere – but who cares?

N-am citit prea bine mailul de la organizatori, așa că m-am prezentat la locul faptei de la ora 18.30. Am stat în picioare câteva ore, dansând pe David Bowie, Lykke Li, Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, The Cure și Editors (din ce-am recunoscut eu). A fost ok – pentru warm up.

A urmat concertul celor de la Monarchy, undeva între ora 20 și 21. Nu am ascultat Monarchy până atunci, de ce să zic prostii, și primele piese sunau bine. Chiar foarte bine. Așa că în primă fază i-am catalogat ca fiind ascultabili spre ok. După care am realizat că sunt ca muzica house – nu-ți dai seama ce piesă e, când se termină una și începe alta, chestii din astea care mă irită. Așa că nu mi s-au mai părut atât de tari. Abia așteptam să se termine, mă enerva faptul că erau cam țepeni pe scenă și am o vagă bănuială că solistul nu cânta live – too much autotune of some sorts…

Ăștia au plecat. Pauză vreo 20 de minute, să strângă strângătorii cabluri și aparate. Then, IAMX!

IAMX este o persoană ciudată, o experiență care iese din tipare, pe care, oricât ai vrea s-o încadrezi undeva, nu prea poți. Așa că ori îți place, ori nu. Trebuie să fii în starea lui de agitație permanentă, trebuie să ai senzația aia că trebuie să cauți ceva și nu știi ce, trebuie să te macine ceva, ca să-l poți simți.

Poate părea ciudat unora care nu ”simt” muzica, dar eu îl percep ca pe un om care suferă foarte mult și care reușește să-mi transmită starea aceasta. E un adevărat artist, care muncește atât pe scenă, cât și în afara ei.
Am fost uimită de energia lui și de modul în care se mișca așa rapid de la un instrument la altul.
Spre rușinea noastră, n-a avut un public demn de prestația lui. Am fost un public static, pe o rază de 10 metri în jurul meu, doar eu și încă doi oameni știam versurile și cântam o dată cu el.

A fost, totuși, artist până la capăt, a cântat aproape tot setlistul, în afară de I Salute You Christopher, de pe noul album, și Commanded By Voices, pe care a înlocuit-o cu Skin Vision. La piesele mai lente nu a avut succes, deși mi s-a părut că acolo a pus mai mult suflet. Publicul a rămas inert aproape tot timpul cât a durat concertul. Mi-aș fi dorit să fi fost mai plini de viață, să aibă parte de un public viu. Din fericire, asta nu l-a oprit și IAMX a dat pe scena de la Romexpo 110%.

Mi-a plăcut energia transmisă de cei de pe scenă, mi-a plăcut că nu m-am simțit singură, deși eram printre puținii care cântau cu ei, mi-a plăcut că mi-au amintit cum e să fii jos, mi-a plăcut că m-au făcut să-mi amintesc cum e să fii om.

Am ajuns să iubesc Bring Me Back A Dog și Music People, piese pe care nu le iubeam înainte. Kiss And Swallow a fost genială, la fel și Ghosts Of Utopia și Fire And Whispers. My Secret Friend și Tear Garden au fost geniale, ca întotdeauna. Think Of England mi-a accentuat sentimentul de singurătate și o să o evit în continuare, deși este o piesă superbă. Am așteptat sfârșitul cu nerăbdare, pentru că la final urma să cânte Spit It Out – preferata mea. A fost superb, epic, magnific, și orice alte epitete descriptive ar mai fi de zis pentru a înțelege cât de mult mi-a plăcut piesa asta!

Pentru necunoscători, setlistul complet de la București a fost:

1. Music People
2. Volatile Times
3. Nightlife
4. Ghosts of Utopia
5. My Secret Friend
6. Tear Garden
7. Fire & Whispers
8. Think Of England
9. Bring Me Back A Dog
10. Nature of Inviting
11. Cold Red Light
12. Kiss and Swallow
13. President
14. The Alternative
15. Skin Vision
16. Spit It Out

Câteva mostre:

PS: Sper să mai vină la noi.