The re-emergence of an ancient project from Celldweller and Fixt label mastermind Klayton, Circle Of Dust is the heavier, punchier version of Celldweller that you’ve been looking for. Mixing in elements from eighties thrash acts like Slayer and Testament along with militaristic nodes from acts like Ministry, I am quite surprised that such a project like this ever existed. When Celldweller first came onto the scene, they had more of an alternative hard rock sound and I more or less figured that was pretty much all there was to Klayton’s work, even though I enjoyed it heavily having bought a copy of the album he made with Criss Angel. Why that record is not readily available on the artist’s Bandcamp page, I’ll never know. (If I’m not mistaken, he made several albums with Criss which are worth tracking down.)
In any case, this is the first record from Circle Of Dust in twenty years, and it comes with a fully remastered and expanded back catalogue of the first few albums. For fans of the previous work, this disc sounds kind of like a mixture of the heavy pounding metal of Brainchild mixed in with more of the modernisms apparent in Celldweller. Even so, it hits hard right from the very start with the opener and title cut, “Contagion”, “Humanarchy” and “alt_Human” among others, as a hugely Ministry influence seems to breathe through most of the album, whether that be thrash or chug. Again, this is far different from the Celldweller work and even features some harsh vocals in lieu of Celldweller’s mild shouts. When we get to “Hive Mind” it’s a bit different and seems to follow the Celldweller formula, which we also get with the electro-ballad “Outside In.” Soon enough, we’re back to the heavier material with “Neurochem” as an instrumental titled “k_OS” breaks in, though it isn’t too bad in all honesty. “Neophyte” feels more Celldweller than Circle Of Dust, and closer “Malacandra” gives us an atmosphere. So you’re not really getting a great deal of crunch for your buck, unless you are a bigger fan of Celldweller or Klayton’s instrumental pieces in general. I’d say that there are about six or seven metal influenced tracks, which might sound to some like Ministry lite, but is still a definite step in the right direction for an act that has been dormant for a very long time. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Brainchild over this one, if you haven’t heard it yet – or alongside this one if you have the money. These discs can range from ten to fifteen USD a piece, especially if you want the deluxe editions of the albums.
At the end of the day, I can say that I’m glad Klayton decided to show a much heavier side of himself that I didn’t even know existed and hopefully this won’t be the only record to showcase that. I would certainly like to hear more, heavier and faster.
(13 Tracks, 63:00)