Album Review – Circle of Dust – Brainchild (Remastered) 1994/2016

Availability: FiXT Store, iTunes, Amazon (original 1994 edition), and Spotify

Cranial Tyrant is phenomenally filled with the blueprints of what would become the fusion of nu-metal and heavy metal in the late 90s,  specifically the sound that the band Slipknot would be internationally recognized and acclaimed for; the usage of the drums are robust and aggressive, a style Jay Weinberg and percussionists Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn utilized throughout their career combined, produced by Scott Albert. Moreover, Albert goes on to pervade drone and distortion, travelling back into the early sound of industrial.

Telltale Crime resumes the heavy metal theme, with a dash of thrash, feeding inspiration from Motorhead, Judas Priest and Slayer, with the industrial aspect of his sound/experimentation being a deliberate undertone, an atmospheric note, like background noise, and the same can be said of Prayers of a Dead Man; which again, concentrates the IDM genre as a background presence, this time the metal genre mellowed, as the main emphasis is on Klayton’s distorted voice, deliberately playing with hiss and noise reduction, along with the glitch effect, pioneered in the IDM and industrial genres.

Regressor – Aggressive Mix takes the form of pure industrial, with this time the electronic guitars taking a step back and becoming support of the electronic fore, Scott’s voice being prominently clean with harmonizing electronic backing vocals, provided by himself; with the predecessor of the stuttering technique coming into play (the stuttering effect was officially pioneered by electronic artist, BT, who was one of the earliest artists in the intelligent dance music).  Aggressor – Regressive Mix, coming in later in the track listing, is a reprise and remix of Repressor, being more frenetic, with just the distorted vocals present. Regressor and Aggressor are the ‘ancestor’ of what are to be the tracks Stay with Me (Unlikely) and Unlikely (Stay with Me) from his debut album (self-entitled) as Celldweller, 2003.

Enshrined returns to the industrial metal genre, with thrash, the drums energetic and Klayton’s vocals harsh and disturbed. Course of Ruin contrasts this with going full on heavy metal, but dissimilar Telltale Crime and Prayers of a Dead Man; Course of Ruin evidentially almost abandons the industrial mixture completely to focus on the metal genres, reminiscing on the classical metal era, with traits of the much later nu/aggro-metal.

takes a thrash metal, electronic and industrial sound, the first to be similar in direction to his self-entitled album, and not dissimilar to Neophyte, the third to the last track of the self-entitled album, contains nightclub friendly qualities in the very essence of its core. Deviate relapses strongly into pure industrial metal, with the fast and furious attitude to the drums and disturbed vocals, with classical metal guitar solos thrown in. The remix, like in the previous remastered album, provided by Blue Stahli, takes Deviate into an electronic industrial direction, without losing the original’s dark aggression.

Pale Reflection is the first of the slower tracks on the album, followed by Am I in Sync? The last track of the album and original track listing, using ambience and drone assets to introduce the listener into a distressed feeling, with morphed female screams, and spoke voices, implying to the mind possibly having an internal break-down, struggling with reality.  Am I in Sync?  Concludes the album, in its older format with an industrial and gothic metal composition, keeping the lyrical content and the arrangement rhythmic and steady.

Contagion is a new addition to the remastered tracklisting, the song in particular was before being added, the first new material of Klayton under the Circle of Dust title and was official released on 19th Feburary 2016 as a single in its own right (I covered its release, along with the official music video in Feature of the Days previously). As a whole, Contagion features what would be considered modern industrial and IDM techniques, with thrash metal interlacing in the mix.

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