The mere sounds of some albums can transport you back in time and Machines of Our Disgrace from Circle of Dust will take you right back to the industrial metal of the late 1990s and yet still feel as fresh and new as any other album released this year.
As the story goes, Circle of Dust was formed out of the ashes of the thrash metal band Immortal by Klayton with the self-titled debut album coming out in 1992 and launching what has become an iconic career in industrial rock/metal and spawned other well-known projects such as Argyle Park and Celldweller. For over 20 years the rights to the original Circle of Dust and Argyle Park albums were not available to Klayton, who finally secured the rights in 2015. As Klayton began planning for the remastering and re-release of the original albums, ideas for a new Circle of Dust album began to flow and the result of that is Machines of Our Disgrace. The entire catalog including albums Circle of Dust, Brainchild, Metamorphosis, Argyle Park, and Disengage have been remixed/remastered with bonus material added and are available now.
The album opens much as one would expect from an industrial metal project with lots of programmed keyboards and drums joined later by some synthesized vocals and other sound effects and samples as the song veers right into “Machines of Our Disgrace” and it’s heavy driving guitar riff opening. Throughout the album, guitars carry much of the workload in the songs, which does distinguish this project from one of Klayton’s other projects Celldweller. To be honest, the pounding rhythm and drums in “Machines of Our Disgrace” reminds me a lot of early 90’s Ministry and other industrial acts of the time.
“Contagion” takes a bit of different tact for opening, relying on almost a Megadeth-like guitar harmony that shortly settles into a driving riff similar to “Machines of Our Disgrace”. Vocals in the verses are largely spoken over keyboard backing with the guitars providing accent and ensuring the metal feel stays within the song. As expected, there is a good bit of sampling and computer altered voices throughout the album.
As if to drive home the point that Celldweller is a bit different in approach, “Embracing Entropy” features Celldweller, and true to form is more heavily focused on keyboards than driving guitars. Despite this change, the song still has that characteristic industrial, electronic feel. As if to show how heavy a song can be, “Humanarchy” follows and with the guitars coming back and teaming up with machine gun like drums, contrasts nicely with the smoothness of “Embracing Entropy”.
The short instrumental “Signal” provides a breather before “alt_Human” comes in. And while alt-Human” eventually does go toward the heaviness of Ministry, the early parts of the song remind me a lot of what one can hear in some Linkin Park, particularly the early material. This influence is perhaps even more apparent in “Outside In” as the song itself is not quite as heavy. While Circle of Dust is certainly heavier and different than Linkin Park, I can hear the influence of bands like Circle of Dust on the sound of bands like Linkin Park. In that sense, this is somewhat like taking a step back in time.
Sonically, the album has everything one would want from an industrial album of a band at its peak during the glory days of industrial music. Production is crystal clear and as one would expect, mixing is perfect. There are a lot of sounds blended into these mixes in addition to the vocals and instruments and everything works.
For fans of industrial music, it has been a long time waiting for a new Circle of Dust album and with the release of Machines of Our Disgrace, Klayton has delivered exactly what was needed.
Written by John Jackson
2. Machines of Our Disgrace
4. Embracing Entropy (feat. Celldweller)
8. Hive Mind
9. Outside In
Klayton – all instruments and arrangements
Record Label: Independent, Dec. 2016
Video below: ‘Machines of Our Disgrace’
Video below: ‘Contagion’
Video for ‘alt_Human’
Lyric video for ‘Oustide In’
Lyric video for ‘Neurachem’