Circle of Dust - METAMORPHOSIS
Everything We Do Matters
Metamorphosis may have been the most experimental (and most misunderstood) Circle of Dust release. Without a doubt, this stuff is enigmatic. Part COD and part Living Sacrifice (label mates at the time of the original release), Metamorphosis not only featured a wide array of sounds and styles (electronic death metal?) but most importantly it represented our first exposure to Klayton’s penchant for the “remix.” Part metal, and probably a whole lot more electronic — these songs really do herald the move toward what would eventually become Celldweller. Yes, there would be Disengage (more on that later this year), but this truly was the transitional release.
The nearly 60 minute disc 1 contains almost all of the original release, similarly treated with an updated remastering process not unlike the 2016 reissues of the debut and Brainchild. What’s missing from the reissue? Well, since the “sawed off shotgun” remix of “Deviate” was included on the Brainchild reissue and “Self Inflict” was reissued as well, they were left off here. And, Living Sacrifice’s “Desolate” was excluded as that song was a label bonus on the original issue and hadn’t been remixed by Klayton.
So what’s new? The disc is now divided into 2 parts instead of 3 (since Brainchild was essentially COD). The first 7 songs represent remixes and previously (at that time) unreleased COD material and the second 5 tracks the Living Sacrifice remixes. Interestingly, the Living Sacrifice intro “Emerge” from Nonexistent is included in addition to Klayton’s remixed versions of “Void Expression,” “Distorted” and “Sacrificed.” As a result, the song order has been altered accordingly. For those not familiar with the original takes, these versions are intense — the screaming in “Consequence” (Temporary remix) quite disturbing.
Of the original songs, “Heldweller” encapsulates everything great about the metal/electronic hybrid of COD. The thrash beginning gives way to a doomy second half — the song itself the essence of metamorphosis. And “Nihilistic Void” — with its scathing lyrics — could have easily found a home on the Brainchild release. The instrumental and ambient “Daraq” — in essence, another variant of “Consequence” — would lay the foundation for some of Klayton’s later work in this regard with his “soundtracks.”
While all of the 2016 reissues have featured bonus material, disc 2 here is over the top. 76 minutes in duration, this is essentially an entirely new release in and of itself. There is all kind of booty here. As with the other re-releases, Blue Stahli has an all new remix — this time around a Middle Eastern version of “Bed of Nails” that is fantastic — tops the original. The COD remix of lvl’s “Backslide” is a highlight for me, as are the two demo songs from the collaboration of Prong’s Tommy Victor and Klayton (audio quality outstanding by the way). The songs on this disc don’t have a metal vibe, per se, and instead have a much more Celldweller musical direction, but the diversity is pretty immense.
The “Heldweller” ’92 demo version is pretty cool as well although I confess I don’t really understand the point of instrumental demo versions of “Heldweller” and “Consequence.” However, the 13 “Dust” tracks (the best ones yet) here definitely represent a progression from the early “Dust” tracks found on the debut reissue in that they are moving in a Disengage/Celldweller direction.
For fans, this collection of material is an essential part of the history and evolution of Circle of Dust/Celldweller. Yes, it’s a bit disjointed (and at times redundant) but I think less so than the original issue in that regard. And, these new versions definitely have the amped up sound quality you’ve been hearing on the previous 2016 reissues. [FiXT]