Review Summary: A juggernaut in the industrialized metal field.
Sanford Parker is in on a role these days and I will tell you why, everything he touches is pure gold and this applies whether you’re an elitist prick or not. If there was one thing you would like to criticize him on, it would be that he hasn’t produced, mixed, or made music that sucks, period. In fact, this unbiased statement can be held up with some substantial weight seeing as Parker has delved into the greatest parts of everything that is sludge, post metal, traditional heavy metal, and black metal, usually combining the greatest parts of all these sub-genres seamlessly and staying rather fresh in the process. These are all sub-genres that are going strong within metals thriving community today and are only continuing to pump out anything truly original within the genre as a whole. So why choose to do an industrialized metal project, one that relates more to what was popular during the late 80s and early 90s and hasn’t really seen significant attention since nu-metal bent it out of shape at the beginning of the decade? For Parker and his recruited company, it’s not about rehash or simply starting a trend. It’s about respect where his influences were influenced from; the misanthropically, hypnotic approach that spurred an overload of the corpse painted, death merchant, tectonic chord rumbling bands today.
Once again, Parker is at the mixing boards and doing a majority of the instrumentation as well (guitars, keys, programming, bass, backing vocals etc.). For the remainder of the band, Circle of Animals is rounded out by vocalist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) with a different drummer for nearly every track that features a sweet guest list comprised of Steve Shelly (Sonic Youth), John Hemdon (Tortoise) and John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage) to name a few. Add on top of that guest vocals by Judd Blake (Nachtmystium) and Chris Connelly (The High Confessions, another Parker supergroup might I add) and you get the picture of how many people want to work with Parker. You would think that adding this many people on board would create a mixed bag of ideas and to be quite frank, it sure does. Actually, he makes this sound huge! Even though the album is wrapped up in a beefy production (what most great industrial metal should sound like), what sets this apart with originality is that not one tune really follows the same industrial structure as the one before. In a way, Destroy the Light
comes off as a broad palette of everything that made industrial metal click and clanker during its heyday.
Destroy the Light
opens with a slice of industrial waste in the form of ‘Invisible War’, one of the best songs that could have possibly come out of industrials prime years. Besides other pummeling numbers such as ‘No Faith’ and ‘Lesson Human Spirit’ that hold true to that Ministry/ Prong thrash groove, Destroy
also touches base on a few other industrial acts that new how to reek havoc on the senses without having to pertain to a fast, aggressive approach. Killing Joke comes to mind when ‘All Spirit/ No Mind’ and ‘Seminal Animal’ begin to twist into a volatile post-punk vibe. Besides the calmer vocals scattered throughout and sounding as if ohGr was guest appearing on the album, the Skinny Puppy inspired creepiness is especially effective on the somewhat acoustic number ‘…And Together We Are Together’. Let’s not forget the stomping bass groove of Streetcleaner
era Godflesh that erupts throughout the track ‘Poison the Lamb’, all the while incorporating a flavor of female vocals that could easily have touched base on a Jesu record as well. This collaboration of influences is stunningly laid out, but what Parker steamrolls through on the first seven songs is only touching the surface of his industrial creativity. The monstrous outro track ‘Destroy the Light’ is Parker doing what he does best, creating a building climax of post-metal/ industrial see-sawing that intersperses bits of jazz into the mix that can only be described as “saving the best for last”.
In a year of virtually no industrial mayhem (save for Wumpscut’s Siamese
), Sanford Parker had to go ahead and unleash yet another one of his eclectic side projects. As 2010 closes out it’s mediocre year in the way of heavy metal, it’s a relief to know there is some great industrial floating around out there that knows how to capture the past without the mimic.