Circle Of Dust – Machines Of Our Disgrace (2016)
Circle of Dust is Klayton is Celldweller is Scandroid is Argyle Park. 2016 has been a seriously hectic year Klayton. Aside from re-issuing the entire Circle Of Dust discography in remastered and expanded packages, the Celldweller mainman has also reissued the debut Argyle Park album in remastered form and finally released his 80’s tinged retro/synth project Scandroid’s debut album too. But we’re here to talk about the latest Circle Of Dust album, the first new material for the band in 20 years. For those unfamiliar, COD was Klayton’s first foray into industrial rock back in the 90’s. The material was solid, even if the production was somewhat questionable but the aforementioned re-releases have addressed all those issues.
So let’s cut to the chase – how does the new material sound? Pretty damn good, actually. At its core, Machines Of Our Disgrace is an industrial record. The attitude and feel of this album is industrial. Cold, mechanical drums, buzz-saw guitars, heavy electronics with equally heavy sampling and Klayton’s distinct vocal presence. When he gets it right, Klayton delivers perfect industrial rock/metal, moments of true rivethead greatness; the title track and “Contagion”, which open the album, really exemplify this.
Comparisons to Celldweller are inevitable and understandable. If Celldweller is Klayton’s Hollywood Space Opera, Circle Of Dust is the raw, grimey, independent sci-fi/horror flick. They both have their place and they both serve a purpose. The trancey, grandiose EDM element of Celldweller is omitted from COD, and what you’re left with is a far more direct and visceral beast. More aggression. “Embracing Entropy (feat. Celldweller)” takes the Circle of Dust sound and effectively melds it with the Celldweller sound, the result is greatness but that Celldweller influence does dilute COD’s aggression slightly. Interestingly, this song does actively highlight the difference between the two projects. It’s then a return to business as usual when “Humanarchy” kicks off, all blast beat drums with Klayton’s screams and the heavy riffs destroying all.
“alt_Human” is particularly brilliant. A savage, stomping industrial rock track. Again, touching the void of rivethead greatness, this really is fantastic machine music. “Hive Mind” takes Klayton’s industrial style and mixes in some old-school rivetness to create a solid and melodic, more electro-industrial track. “Outside In” again has a strong melodic line, albeit with a more downtempo, electronic vibe. “Neurachem” is industrial beauty, pure American coldwave. Fantastic stuff. Previous single “Neophyte” is another stunning track, a super solid industrial rock tune with a huge chorus.
Although Machines Of Our Disgrace takes significant cues from 90’s industrial rock/metal, this album is by no means any sort of trend re-hash. There’s a level of creativity and quality here not often heard, also an eagerness to show how progressive the genre can be. Word has it that this album is not a once off and Klayton shall continue to work on Circle Of Dust in the future. We are the lucky ones.