top of page

The Return of Circle of Dust

For fans of metal/electronic hybrid music with industrial infusions the return of Circle of Dust is easily one of the most exciting happenings in the rock/metal world in 2016. Klayton was able to procure all of his music from the 90’s written under the COD/Argyle Park moniker. Not only will all 5 albums be re-released, the word from Klayton is that each reissue will be remastered, in some cases remixed, and all upgraded with bonus content.

There is no denying that the debut release (originally ’92) was and remains a landmark release in the world of “electronic” music – the techno lush yet guitar infused mix incredibly addictive, especially since in many ways COD was much more melodic and accessible than most bands in the scene at the time. But as most fans know, despite its popularity (especially within the Christian market where no one was doing anything this inventive or extreme) Klayton (who was never happy with the release) essentially “remade” the album and re-released it in 1995. This new version is essentially a bit of a hybrid (if you will) between the ’92 and ’95 releases but follows the song template of the ’95 release. I can say it is nice to have “Exploration” (the 2016 version) back at the top of the song list – its predecessor included on the Disc 2 bonus material – but some fans will be disappointed that “Technological Disguise” and “Senseless Abandon” have not similarly been resurrected. Still, you will not hear any complaints here as there is plenty enough to satisfy in this nearly 2 hour set.

So how does this version sound? Obliterating – this is the word that keeps coming to mind as these songs rework their magic through the speakers almost 25 years since their inception. The first thing I notice is how the low-end of the frequency spectrum has been given a boost. As expected this gives the drums an absolutely thunderous quality (“Nightfall” a prime example), but the guitar crunch benefits significantly as well, giving many of these songs that “wall of guitars” sound. Songs like “Demoralize,” “Rational Lies,” “Consequence” and the brutally beautiful and insightful “Dissolved” sound massive. One of the drumming highlights remain the diversity of snare sounds used throughout, especially on a song like “Rational Lies” where all kinds of effects are employed but then the song drives to the end with that perfect blast beat snare crack! Really though, and especially if you listen to this in any kind of stereo surround mode, everything sounds more dynamic – even the vocals and spoken parts jump out with sonic clarity. The improvements in dynamic contrast and frequency range, in addition to making the music really come to life, render these songs more “listenable” at higher volumes and for longer periods, in my opinion … something that was a bit of an issue with the older versions and industrial metal in general.

The bonus disc (54 minutes) is really worthwhile because in addition to “Exploration” (1992) – which is fun to A/B with the new version of the song – you have the totally new COD song “Neophyte” – which sounds like it could have been originally released with either the debut or Brainchild – the acoustic version of “Onenemy” (great song), and the Blue Stahli remix of “Nothing Sacred” which is nothing short of brilliant. Bret perfectly captures the “driving through futuristic and exotic landscapes” nature of COD while simultaneously injecting new life into one of most noteworthy and lyrically biting songs from the debut. Of course, the bulk of the bonus disc is comprised of the cassette demo material from the late 80’s (by the way these don’t sound like cassette quality so Klayton obviously cleaned them up) and the “Dust” tracks, which may pre-date the debut, but I am not sure. Sans guitar and vocals, most of the “Dust” tracks are experimental electronica and remind me of a hybrid between COD and Celldweller – somewhat similar to the Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head material, but not quite that epic is scope or sound as obviously Klayton had not yet evolved to that level. It should be noted though that the sound quality of this material does not sound dated. The 2 disc set comes in a tri-fold digi with brilliant new artwork. [FiXT]

Click button to like this post, or below to like our whole page

Heaven's Metal Magazine Presents: White Throne Radio
Heaven's Metal
bottom of page