Album Review – Circle of Dust – Metamorphosis (Remastered) 1993/2016

Availability: FiXT Store, YouTube, eBay, Amazon (original edition) and Spotify

Metamorphosis is a remix compilation featuring artists such as Circle of Dust, Rivot a short lived duo project between Klayton and Vinny Syrek, and Living Sacrifice, a Christian death metal band, of which were in the original tracklisting, and in this remastered edition electro-industrial artist Blue Stahli has included his own interpretation of Bed of Nails, from the debut album of Circle of Dust (1992) and lvl, the industrial project of Scott Albert’s younger brother, Dan Levler. In addition to this remix, three new tracks have been included Heldweller, Nihilistic Void and Daruq, as mentioned on a Feature of the Day post a few weeks ago.

Heldweller, is quite noticeably a play on Albert’s current pseudonym Celldweller (this was sourced from a nickname his mother gave him when he lived with his parents in his younger years), but unlike the musical direction of this project (electro-industrial, drum ‘n’ bass), and the industrial music he produced solely as Circle of Dust; this track is more fixed within the metal dimension, colliding together death, doom, thrash and lastly industrial, with the former two genres more protuberant, especially with the evident growls in the foreground. This may be so because this album features Living Sacrifice, so it was intended to create a fluent and consistent musical connection, rather just contain random change of genre with every track. Nihilistic Void in contrast, is pure industrial and slash metal, the founding sound of Circle of Dust and co-insides with the direction of the debut and the much later Brainchild combined (this album, chronically didn’t come out until a year later, but was remastered ahead of this one). To co-ordinate with the industrial-slash sound, nearer the finale of the song, the tone of the composition changes to take the embodiment of proto-nu/aggro-metal influence (a particular direction that can later be heard being with the likes of Korn and Payable on Death (P.O.D)).

Consequences and Void Expression are two tracks that feature a number of separate remixes, and for these paragraphs I will cover them all, so they have a separate section dedicated to them. Consequences’ first of the two remixes, Temporary Remix being close to a minimalist technique completely eradicates the harsh opening of the original track and purely focuses on the guitar and drum work, whilst introducing drone-esque, IDM (industrial music), ambient rock and lo-fi qualities. As the heavy industrial metal vibe is muted, it allowed Scott Albert’s vocal ability to protrude and be heard. The Eternity Remix is closer to the original, as it includes the metallic nature of the guitars if not more slowed down, with additional sampling, with one again, a clear emphasis on Albert’s vocals. Circle of Dust ‘Blank Stare’ Remix, the first of the Void Expression adds is remastered speedy industrial tracks on the exclusive death metal track (from the album Non-Existent (1992), originally produced for the R.E.X label). This remix I’d like to suggest could be a death-industrial union. ‘Black Veil’ Remix sucks out the metal and replaces it with beautiful acoustics, with religious chants beneath the drone and white noise, furthering mournful tone into a true alternative/doom metal instrumental piece.

Dissolved Disintegration Remix, reconstructs the industrial metal/IDM mix into drone-industrial, similar to an extended mix of a song, and has used this interpretation as the extended mix, with an elongated introduction. With the original being faster, Disintegration slows it down; this effect gives the number a grunge feel, with parts exploring EDM genres. Descend Pit of Hell Remix, a remix of a track (Descend), that would come to be featured on Brainchild (1995) and was introduced into this remastered compilation distorts the original mix from industrial, into a concoction of beat, intelligent dance music, and distorted death metal growls with metal guitar riffs, all of which come in straight away into the introduction before the initial composition returns.

Daruq is the third and last of Klayton’s new tracks, and it is as a whole, an experimental industrial track with an incredibly strong, distorted drone-like bass and voice samples and ambient  keyboard techniques within.  Emerge – Living Sacrifice Intro, is a bit out of sync as I introduced the band further up in the review, however, what can be said of the taster of the Christian death metal band that comes in at this section of the track listing, is that it shares the religious themes that will be found in the Black Veil Remix, with the usage of chanting and underlying symphonic tempo.

Distorted (third of the last tracks belonging to Living Sacrifice, second track from Non-Existent) Circle of Dust Remix, doesn’t shy too much away from the founding composition, as the fast guitar introduction remains in position, but finds itself joined by industrial sampling. Sacrificed, the last of the Living Sacrifice tracks, on the other hand is not from any album, but is in fact an original for Metamorphosis, and the Circle of Dust Refix is quite obviously a remastered edition of this insert, biding a farewell to this section and leading back into Circle of Dust, and soon to introduce lvl and Rivot. There are favorable similarities between Distorted and Sacrificed, which would become apparent in the works of nu-metal/heavy metal group Slipknot later in the decade.

Bed of Nails Blue Stahli Remix, shall we say, transcends the song to a completely new level, with Bret Autrey’s direction introducing Middle Eastern ambiance, progressive trance and drum and bass to create a neoclassical psychedelic track. It creates a strange allure, a sexiness that you know shouldn’t be there because of the lyrical content, but works so well to make the notion of unwanted temptation and pleasurable pain so desirable. Backslide Circle of Dust Remix, is itself a once unused remix (once known as Klayton Scott Revision) of a track from his brother’s debut album Devil’s Advocate (1999), She: Backslide, that has been brought onto Metamorphosis for our pleasure, and has been re-remixed into an industrial dance track.

Never, an industrial track was originally featured on Demo-lition II, 1993 and got introduced onto this compilation, and is, similar to the newly constructed tracks Heldweller, Nihilistic Void and Daruq a non-remixed track, but only remastered. This track is very intriguing because there isn’t just industrial metal, but also alternative dance (a genre The Prodigy came to use later in their career) and acid techno thrown in, a genre that Aphex Twin is a contributor of, and in this instance, the distorted screaming vocals both electronic artists are known.

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