Album Review – Circle of Dust – Machines of Our Disgrace (2016)

Availability: Spotify, FiXT Store, Bandcamp and Discog

, the introductory interlude to the album, embracing the modern essence of industrial and dark ambient genres, fuses glitch and house into a distorted yet trippy platform. Machines of Our Disgrace, initially was featured in the remastered release of Disengage (1998), and prior to that was a single earlier this year in June with its own music video, following Contagion back in Feburary. Though previously discussed in various posts throughout last year (which I’ve done the same for Contagion), I’ll make it an official observation for the album review; Machines of Disgrace contains the unique inflexion Scott Albert has had within the industrial metal scene, with his deep interest in electronic music which has in ways override his love of metal, he has utilized the available modern IDM and EBM techniques, on top of returning to the early metal genre of the 1980s with thrash and speed metal.

Contagion, the very first song Klayton ever produced under the Circle of Dust name in twenty years, once the rights of the material had been gained back; the single was premiered in Feburary and in many ways reflected that of Circle of Dust (1992), which carried a leaning and focus on traditional instrumental composition, specifically of thrash metal and Albert merely used intelligence dance music and industrial as a compliment and undertone. Embracing Entropy ft. Celldweller, is perhaps the third track within Klayton’s discography that includes a fusion of two music projects, the previous being Scandroid featuring Circle of Dust (Pro-bots and Robophobes, 2015, which later features on Scandroid’s debut, 2016), and Celldweller ft. Scandroid (Breakout,  including a remix by Scandroid, featured on End of an Empire, 2015. Unlike the previous fusions however, which usually focused on Klayton’s vocal range of one project, flattered by another project’s musical direction (industrial, electro-rock or synthwave); this particular fusion cleverly duets the two projects, both instrumentally and lyrically; Klayton is harmonizing with himself in different ranges, one which is usually accompanied with Celldweller, a voice of hope and youthfulness, whilst the deeper, quieter is that of Circle of Dust, almost smothered. It reflects an inner turmoil of the character, fighting with their morality.

Humanarchy sampling Jurassic Park’s memorable scene of the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s triumphant escape from its enclosure, the song explodes into heavy industrial metal, and if anyone remembers my comparison of Circle of Dust’s early discography to the works of early nu-metal groups such as Slipknot, this track captures that, and embraces that groundbreaking energy; whilst also expanding his wings into possible Metalcore with their moments of melodic direction. Signal is a short interlude containing industrial and dark ambient, sampling the siren of World War II, and in continuous use since the Cold War (1947 – 1991), the ambience is a lead into the next track.

alt_Human starts as a melodic industrial rock track, with heavy metal and IDM inclusions. The direction of the track is deliberately structured to be both disturbing yet erotic, the erotic elements done so to elude to the temptation of transhumanism, becoming one with technology, despite the grotesque reality, treading dangerously onto an Frankensteinian aftermath. Hive Mind delicately fuses industrial metal, electro-industrial and EBM into a seductive narrative of the destructive fear of mankind, rather than continue a mortal life; we are trying to find ways of escaping into immortality and scaring ourselves into subjectivity.

Outside In is dynamically the most tragic of the tracks on the album, opening with a subdued electronic arrangement; less so industrial, IDM or electro-industrial, and closer the blueprints of what would be Scandroid and the early synthesis towards synth/retro-wave.  Lyrically, the song reveals the turmoil and regret of the human race after they come to realise that their actions towards immortality and utopia has sunken and fallen into that of dystopia, and they are trapped. Neurachem is a return to intelligent dance music, as well as the inflections towards glitch, stutter effect and industrial rock/metal; it’s in this track in particular that has extraordinary similarities to Brainchild (1994) with the debut album of Celldweller (2003), for Klayton’s aggressive path, exploring the Rivethead within.

k_OS (Chaos), the third of the last track on the album, is an extended extract and remix of Machines of Our Disgrace and Embracing Entropy combined, Scott Albert exploring mash-ups as he proceeded to do for Disengage (1998) with You Are Fragile, Disengage, Chasm Version 2.1.0 and Refactor Version 3.2.1. The genre of this extracted remix can only be described as a mixture of glitch, electro-industrial and the distortions of nu-metal.

Neophyte is another of the new material that emerged from Albert last year, during the process of the remastering of Circle of Dust’s original material, and was premiered exclusively on a the remastered, two-disc edition of the project’s debut album Circle of Dust (1992); and as I have formerly expressed on that review, Neophyte is one of the more mainstream dance to listen to, because it encompasses the necessities of modern industrial, IDM and EDM genres, and can be embraced by the Rivethead and cyber culture alike. Neophyte intends to explore the beginnings of a new phase in a person’s life, and historically refers to a recent convert of a religion, but can also be focused onto a new movement or transitional phase in society. In this instance, a propaganda message to the hopes and dreams of a utopia, becoming one with the machine, therefore the machine and technology is likened to a higher being; a God in humanity’s present and future. Malacantra, the ending track of the album is a continuation of Disengage’s instrumental tracks Thulcandra and Perelanda, and especially the latter of the two, for Malacantra follows Perelanda’s lo-fi, ambient acoustic, and progressive trance space odyssey feel, unlike Thulcandra which is more dark ambient and drone. It’s less than speculative to suggest that Perelanda had resemblances to the later works of Celldweller (Voices in my Head and Transmissions etc.), because by Argyle Park (1995), the beginnings of Celldweller were forming, however, there’s concrete evidence that Malacantra is indeed a direct connection to the universe Scott Albert is creating for Celldweller, with the Black Star saga (2009 – present), and thus End of an Empire (2015).

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