Nearly all of Shadow of Fear – the first Cabaret Voltaire album for sixteen years – was completed before the global pandemic began, but if most things are down to timing, it arrives at a moment which finds society in the cross hairs of everything the they’ve stood for.
We say “They”, but the Cabs are now effectively just Richard H. Kirk following the long distant exit of Stephen Mallinder. Kirk reanimated the project in 2014, initially via a series of festival appearances and those experiences of playing live inspired inspired a more direct, organic approach to writing new material.
This meant a new iteration of the band’s infamous Western Works studio setup, with Kirk at times hand keying sequences, a painstaking method that draws a line back to classic era releases such as The Crackdown.
The results draw on threads of the dub, techno, industrial and the IDM scenes that Kirk and Mallinder were so influential in nurturing; on Night of The Jackal and opener Be Free these impulses are spliced with cut up beats and menacing samples, whilst Shadow of Fear reaches it’s paranoid, modern apex on Microscopic Flesh Fragments, a machine-delusion which sums up 2020’s white knuckle ride of existence.
You can read a full review here.