Circle of Dust
Circle of Dust (Remastered)


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
March 4th, 2016 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Circle of Dust’s debut is one of the most perfect blends of metal and electronics, and it has finally received the production it deserves.

Industrial metal is a hard genre to do correctly. In order to actually do it well, it requires someone that is proficient in electronics that is also creative. Let’s face it, that requirement automatically excludes a good 80% of industrial artists. Quality industrial metal also requires a good guitarist that actually has a love of industrial. How many guitar players grew up hoping to play like Al Jourgensen? If you are lucky enough to find a band that embodies both of those requirements, it generally turns out to be the same person doing everything (Rabbit Junk, Nine Inch Nails). In most other cases, you’re either going to get a metal band with a drum machine or an electro band with some looped power chords. Circle of Dust was one of those bands that actually had all of the requirements to make great industrial metal, and it was also one person doing everything; Scott Albert (AKA Klayton). Unfortunately, they were also on a low-budget Christian label, and never really received the attention they deserved.

Had things been just a little different, Circle of Dust’s self-titled debut would have been huge. When it was released in 1992, industrial was at peak popularity. Nine Inch Nails had opened the flood gate with Pretty Hate Machine in 1989, and a ton of bands had come riding through. You had the mainstream industrial rock bands being led by Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills. You had the obscure veteran acts like Front 242 and Skinny Puppy being scooped up by the major labels. On the heavier side, though, Ministry was virtually alone until Marilyn Manson showed up nearly 4 years later. With the proper label backing, Circle of Dust would have been bigger than Ministry; their album was certainly better. Circle of Dust’s debut basically took the electronics and industrial-pop of Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine, and combined it with a thrash-based industrial metal sound that just worked. This made for an album that was more diverse and with better riffs than Psalm 69, but with the catchy, danceable electronics and vocal hooks that attracted people to Nine Inch Nails’ debut.

Instead of being a huge genre-defining album, Circle of Dust’s initial 1992 release just kind of came-and-went. When the band’s record company procured better distribution in 1995, Klayton opted to re-record the album while replacing some of the original album tracks with new songs. The album definitely did better the second time around, but it still didn’t reach the heights of Ministry or Nine Inch Nails. Nearly twenty years later, Circle of Dust’s debut is set to see its third release (based off the 1995 version of the album) and this time is the best so far. The album has been remastered from the ground up and sounds clearer and more powerful than ever. That means the pounding percussion that dominates every song is more clear and intense. The electronics that had a tendency to get buried on the 1995 release now cut right through the riffs to fully compliment the music and create a more melodic backdrop. The riffs, too, have lost a bit of that muddy quality and have replaced it with a sharper, fatter sound. Klayton’s vocals are now able to glide over the top when he’s featuring his melodic side and drop into the music when things get heavier.

Not content with simply remastering the album, Klayton also added a second disc full of unreleased material. The second disc actually opens with a brand new track, ‘Neophyte’, which was written and recorded for a new Circle of Dust album in December. ‘Neophyte’ is basically a modern, less metallic version of what Circle of Dust has always done. There are also a few well-done remixes and alternate tracks on the second disc, but the majority of the songs are taken from Klayton’s musical infancy. This includes demo tracks from 1989/1990. The demo songs display a lot of the same elements that would eventually come to define Circle of Dust’s core sound, but they’re still a little rough around the edges. Beyond the demo songs are a series of instrumental tracks (all labeled ‘Dust’ and followed by a number) that share more in common with the pure electro of bands such as Front 242.

Even today, Circle of Dust’s debut is one of the most perfect blends of metal and electronics. The problem has always been the album’s dated production. The remastered version has totally fixed that issue and has finally presented the album the way Klayton probably imagined it all those years ago. This is the kind of re-release that feels genuine and should instantly appeal to those fans that discovered the band decades ago, but it is also modern enough in both sound and style to appeal to those that have never even heard of Circle of Dust. To put it simply, Circle of Dust’s debut album was ahead of its time. At a time when most industrial metal bands were just starting to figure out the genre, Klayton was releasing an album full of heavy guitars, excellent riffs, diverse electronics and beats, and a large amount of samples – and it still stands the test of time today. With industrial’s peak long gone and Klayton doing really well with Celldweller, this third release of the band’s debut won’t suddenly make Circle of Dust a household name, but it has removed the only barrier to truly being able to enjoy it.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
March 4th 2016


17096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

So, this turned into a nostalgic look at industrial and Circle of Dust with a bit of album review thrown in for good measure. It is what it is.





Stream 'Neophyte': http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news/35753/New-Circle-of-Dust-track/



Stream 'Contagion': http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news/35687/Circle-of-Dust-Returns/

Digging: Tuesday The Sky - Drift

Toondude10
March 4th 2016


10981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neophyte is so good, reminds me of Front Line Assembly



Album kicks ass

Digging: Iron Maiden - Powerslave

Flugmorph
March 4th 2016


16178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that sounds like i could like it willieboii

Digging: Schammasch - The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite

Toondude10
March 4th 2016


10981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the fact that while to production is updated he still manages to keep that raw and heavy sound.

bloc
March 4th 2016


41577 Comments


Omgggg I gotta hear this. I wanna finally say I like something Klayton related post 2003 lol

Digging: Yellow Magic Orchestra - Solid State Survivor

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2016


22442 Comments


enjoyed the write-up man. hadn't heard of these guys before, but you make a convincing case

Digging: Captain, We're Sinking - The King of No Man

Grimlin
March 4th 2016


990 Comments


As a kid who listened to the '92 release along with Brainchild - Mindwarp (later to become COD - Brainchild in '94) when they came out, I can't say I ever enjoyed what Klayton did to those albums in '95 and '94, respectively. I listened to those albums so much that it made no sense to me at all, and even pissed me off a little, that he rerecorded certain parts and omitted and added other songs and totally fucked with the track order of the ones he left. On albums you know, you hear the next song before it starts, and that totally fucked with me when it was different. And besides that, I never had a problem with the production. As a kid with less discerning ears, it sounded amazing to me. Now it's stuck in nostalgic part of my brain, and nothing will sound better to me than the originals.

That said, I'm sure I'll still give this a listen. At least Exploration is back at number one now, albeit a different version (of course).

Willie
Moderator
March 5th 2016


17096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

--I wanna finally say I like something Klayton related post 2003 lol--

Did you ever check out Argyle Park? That's easily my favorite Klayton release.

--enjoyed the write-up man. hadn't heard of these guys before, but you make a convincing case--

Awesome. Looking forward to see what you think because you've never heard the original, so you can come into it fresh as if it was just a new release.

--As a kid who listened to the '92 release along with Brainchild - Mindwarp (later to become COD - Brainchild in '94) when they came out, I can't say I ever enjoyed what Klayton did to those albums in '95 and '94, respectively.--

I could see that being the case. Apparently, he hated the sound of the original 92 release, and didn't really like a few of the songs too.

--That said, I'm sure I'll still give this a listen. At least Exploration is back at number one now, albeit a different version (of course).--

The original version is on the second disc.



Toondude10
March 5th 2016


10981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well at least the original version can be found here



https://www.goldenmp3.ru/circle-of-dust/circle-of-dust

LotusFlower
March 5th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gonna check this out

bloc
March 5th 2016


41577 Comments


"Did you ever check out Argyle Park? That's easily my favorite Klayton release."

Never heard of it, will do

Willie
Moderator
March 5th 2016


17096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Let me know what you think. That one is easily my favorite. The press release said that he got the rights to that album too, so I'm hoping for a remaster for that. It sounds great already, but it would probably have extras, at least.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2016


22442 Comments


"Looking forward to see what u think"

I'll definitely let u know man. I'm not too familiar with industrial metal, so we'll see how it goes haha

Grimlin
March 5th 2016


990 Comments


I could see that being the case. Apparently, he hated the sound of the original 92 release, and didn't really like a few of the songs too.

As much as he rerecords/remixes/remasters his work, I get the feeling he's the type of artist that's never fully satisfied, and will probably never leave anything be. That's fine though. It's his to do with as he wishes.

Toondude10
March 5th 2016


10981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I'm not too familiar with industrial metal, so we'll see how it goes haha"



Dude look up Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy when you get the chance, those bands are the shit

Aerisavion
March 5th 2016


298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review man. Loving the attention COD is getting now that Klayton's resurrected it. Massively agree that it was ahead of its time for what it was too.

Ebola
March 5th 2016


2559 Comments


Great review, but the summary sounds awkward. I would change it to "a near-perfect blend of metal and electronics" rather than "one of the most perfect." Gonna check this asap

Edit: Never mind, this is a reissue. Your summary makes perfect sense, my bad.

Ebola
March 5th 2016


2559 Comments


Also is this actually a Christian album? I can't really see what it has to do with Jesus

Willie
Moderator
March 5th 2016


17096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

--As much as he rerecords/remixes/remasters his work, I get the feeling he's the type of artist that's never fully satisfied, and will probably never leave anything be. That's fine though. It's his to do with as he wishes.--

Yeah. I noticed that too. I think most artists are like that. They probably just don't have the time or ability to keep revisiting their old stuff.

--Also is this actually a Christian album? I can't really see what it has to do with Jesus--

They were on a Christian label and apparently Klayton used to identify the band as Christian or whatever, but they never really fit the stereotype. Basically, you'd probably never know they were supposed to be a Christian band if nobody told you.

From Wiki:

As early as 1994, Circle of Dust (along with Argyle Park) had been criticized heavily by some Christian music press and by numerous fans for not having religious enough lyrics, or for prioritizing music over evangelism.[4] These issues culminated in Klay Scott abandoning the Christian music industry entirely after the release of Disengage, a decision he explained at great length in a 1998 interview with HM Magazine.[12]

EvoHavok
March 5th 2016


6874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As much as I enjoy Celldweller, I never gave this a try. Seems like the proper time to change that.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Under Your Spell



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