Circle of Dust was a 1990s Industrial rock band created and run by Klayton (then known as Scott Albert, his birth name) who is now more widely known for his solo band Celldweller. Circle of Dust was, along with contemporaries Mortal and Deitiphobia, instrumental in bringing industrial metal to the Christian alternative metal scene. Circle of Dust spawned numerous offspring projects such as Klank, fronted by Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa; Argyle Park and Brainchild, pseudonymous side bands of Klayton's; and CHATTERbOX, which featured future members of Stavesacre.
The R.E.X. years, 1991–1995
Circle of Dust was formed in New York City by Scott Albert after his former late 80s thrash metal outfit Immortal (USA) disbanded. Albert recorded and produced all of the Circle of Dust material himself, and was signed to R.E.X. Records in 1991. The debut self-titled album was released in 1992 and has been described as "post-Pretty Hate Machine industrial pop". That same year, Albert also teamed up with the president of R.E.X., Doug Mann, to create a project called Brainchild while using the pseudonym Tox. The Brainchild album was released with the title Mindwarp in 1992 and was more extreme than Circle of Dust, showcasing dark cyberpunk-esque lyrics that were largely political in nature, and harsher, more thrash-influenced metal guitars. Part of the song ”Deviate” was used as the intro for a long time in the now defunct MTV Sports show. After the release of both albums, Albert also put together a compilation titled Metamorphosis. This compilation, released in 1993, brought together outtakes from Circle of Dust, Mindwarp, and Living Sacrifice's Nonexistent, on which Albert had done some programming work. The compilation also included remixes of songs from each of those three albums done by Albert himself.
In 1994, R.E.X. got a new distribution deal and pressed Albert for a new release. As a stopgap measure, he had R.E.X. re-issue Mindwarp as a Circle of Dust album, with the title of the album switched to Brainchild. The re-issue featured a newly recorded parts to update several songs as well as an new audio mix and altered cover art to reflect the change in band and title. After this, however, R.E.X. wanted a brand new album from Albert, who was busy with touring; he instead opted to completely re-record the debut Circle of Dust album, the sonic quality of which he had been strongly dissatisfied with. This re-issue, which came out in 1995, scrapped three of the old songs and included four new ones, but kept the same artwork. The musicianship and recording quality overall were vastly improved. Circle of Dust toured heavily to promote both re-issues. The live touring band, by this point, included Daren "Klank" Diolosa on guitars, Chris Donohue on bass and keyboard, and Jason Tilton on drums.
When touring ended in 1995 and the members of Circle of Dust were making plans to write and record new material, R.E.X. lost its distribution deal and slid into bankruptcy. The label was unable to pay the musicians money they were owed, would not be able to distribute any new music they did create, and would not let them out of their contract to seek another label. As a result, Albert opted to disband the touring lineup and put Circle of Dust on hiatus while awaiting the outcome of R.E.X.'s financial situation.
In between touring and recording for Circle of Dust, Albert kept busy by having his hand in a variety of other projects. In 1994 he contributed to and produced a side project of members of The Crucified called Chatterbox, which put out one album called Despite. Also in 1994, Albert teamed up with friend Buka and began work on his own side project Argyle Park under three pseudonyms, Dred, Deathwish and Celldweller. Argyle Park would go on to attain notoriety equal to that of Circle of Dust, losing the distinction of being a mere side project. In 1996, Albert produced and programmed Still Suffering, the debut album of his former Circle of Dust guitarist Daren "Klank" Diolosa. The unreleased songs that Klank had written for Circle of Dust the year before ended up on this album.
After Albert lay Circle of Dust to rest in 1995, he began to work with illusionist Criss Angel to work on a theatrical music and magic show called Angeldust. It was at this point that Scott Albert changed his name to Klay Scott, a nickname given by Angel to denote his ability to "take sounds and shape them as if they were clay". Scott and Angel worked for over two years to finalize their multi-media show and released an initial album of music in 1998 called Musical Conjurings from the World of Illusion. During that same period of creativity, Scott was also putting together a posthumous Circle of Dust album as a formal gesture of farewell.
Released in 1998 by Flying Tart Records, Disengage marked the formal end of Circle of Dust. The album contained the remnants of songs that Scott had written from 1991 to 1995, some of which had been intended for a new Circle of Dust album in 1995. These old songs had been rearranged and melded with the new forms of music Scott had been experimenting with in the meantime, becoming hybrids of Scott's older, faster riff-based industrial metal style and newer influences of dance and ambient, with a stronger focus on songwriting. Thus the album was markedly different, musically, from the old Circle of Dust and Brainchild albums. The album was closed out by a selection of remixes, two of which were done by Dan Levler, whom, it was later revealed, was Scott's younger brother and later went on to become a solo industrial/electronic artist himself, recording under the name Level. The liner notes of Disengage contained bits and pieces of an interview Scott had done in which he explained why he had chosen to disband Circle of Dust and start anew with Angeldust.
Much like Scott's experiences with R.E.X., his short deal with Flying Tart provided a number of frustrations: initially scheduled for release in 1997 with the remixes being released beforehand on their own EP, Disengage was pushed back to 1998 and appeared with the remixes tacked onto the end, as the EP had been canceled. The album's art booklet, created and designed entirely by Scott, was also cut back by the label, and Flying Tart itself was bought out and dissolved two weeks after Scott signed the contract, ensuring that the album saw very limited distribution, contrary to what had been promised
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