METANOIA: The Rebirth of {X}

Photo by Saryn Christina
Photo by Saryn Christina

After a battle with chronic insomnia and depression, Chris Corner returns to his roots and releases his sixth album as IAMX. Out today, Metanoia is IAMX at its most pure form. “Unfortunately or fortunately, mental illness has given me a lot to write about,” says Chris of his struggle that served a silver lining. And how appropriately this chapter of IAMX is titled – Metanoia is transformation.

Metanoia is derived from the ancient Greek words μετά (metá), meaning “beyond” or “after,” and νόος (noeō), meaning “perception” or “understanding” or “mind.” It is the process of fundamental change in the human personality. Is Metanoia beyond understanding or the product of perception of the psyche? Metanoia is self-reparation. Metanoia is adaptation. Metanoia is rebirth.

Chris “stripped down some layers” after realizing that it was necessary to “go back to the essence of IAMX – one man, one room, one computer,” and the result is profoundly personal and a psychological promenade through the mind of the master. “After being sick, it became the only way I could get back into making music: keeping it simple and stress free,” he says of the process.

No Maker Made Me opens with the proclamations of a stubborn heart – a man of his own design. The album’s first single, Happiness, accuses the human species of simulated smiles surrounded by death, destruction, and despair. How could anyone smile while smothered with such devastation? North Star (X Edit) – a slight variation from the original – is a plea, a petition, a prayer to Polaris for guidance.

Say Hello Melancholia is a call for empathy: to share fears and tears alike with the listener. The Background Noise testifies of an upstanding, buzzing brain with no OFF switch, which explains and leads perfectly into Insomnia – an astral and space-like cry of “I’ve lost control, please save me from myself” that also speaks of thought-provoked sleeplessness and our limited time on this planet.

Look Outside, according to Chris, “sums up a feeling of completion.” The song is a voyage into the simplicity of nature and experiencing the tranquility and solitude that only the wilderness can provide. “It’s a very cathartic song,” he explains. “When I was writing the album, I became obsessed with the desert. I drove out to Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms every weekend.”

As his infatuation with the isolation and serenity of the desert grew, Chris says, “Finally, I bought a small cheap cabin in the middle of nowhere. That’s where I finished the album. The song is about the calm and amazing satisfaction of being in isolated nature. How clear love and life become when we are not bombarded by the distractions of modern living.” Modern life is a series of distractions.

Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me, the album’s second single, plainly tells of Earth’s current state of affairs: “it’s a fucked up world,” while Aphrodisiac is the underground party monster, inciting physical contact, arousal, and sexual desire. Surrender admits to the fallibility of flesh and submits to self and society. Sometimes, one must surrender oneself to subsist.

Originally written to be a part of Volatile Times, Wildest Wind was scrapped, then revisited four years later for Metanoia. It now serves as the ultimate closing to the latest chapter in the journey of IAMX. Metanoia is the mending of inner conflict – the healing of a psychotic breakdown induced by stress, depression, and chronic insomnia. Behold the metamorphosis.

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