Friday, July 16, 2010

Cyclone Temple - Building Errors in the Machine EP (1993)

Cyclone Temple's debut I Hate Therefore I Am actually received a reasonable level of critical acclaim, which is unfortunate since it rather sucked, but obviously things were not going so well within the band's own camp. Relativity was snapped up by Sony, and in the process they dumped the Combat records artists, so this Chicago band was just one of the many victims to society's shift out of thrash metal and into the bleak 90s realm of grunge and alternative rock like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. So this EP was issued through another label. Also, vocalist Troch took a walk after the full-length, and the band brought in Sonny De Lucia to replace him.

Normally I'd be excited when a singer I didn't care for took his exit papers, but De Lucia is hardly much better. He essentially tries to perform a mix of Chuck Billy and James Hetfield, and tries a little too hard, sounding constipated through a large chunk of this EP. The riffs for most of Building Errors in the Machine are pure thrash, so in a sense the band might have thought to return to the (sadly unheralded) glory days of Act of God, the final album from their previous band Znöwhite. It's not much cause for excitement though, because though they are played in a similar style to Greg Fulton's previous albums, they seem a little crisper and deliver far less impact. More importantly, they're just not very all.

"Hate Makes Hate" opens with a generic, rolling chug similar and then a generic descending chord pattern that we'd all heard a thousand times in various metal songs. The groovy verse rhythm is complete crap, and de Lucia sounds like Hetfield trying to get down like James Brown. "Me, Myself & I" earns no points for its cliche title, nor for the incredibly average riffs and Chuck Billy-like vocals over the verse thrust. "Down the Drain" showed a little potential. In a different time and place, these riffs might have worked with better tone, and I kind of liked the melody in the chorus. "Killing Floor" just sounds like the band took an S.O.D. or Anthrax mosh tune and ramped it up a little, with Hetfield vocals, and "Drug of the Masses" is a huge embarrassment, as the band have basically stolen the amazing breakdown riff from Metallica's "Damage, Inc." and tried to incorporate it as the main verse rhythm in this song.

But what's worse is "The Law of Relativity", where the band decided to flex a little of the Chicago inner city muscle and incorporate some rap alongside the normal thrashing. Now, I don't have an innate opposition to rap/metal or rap/rock. If it was performed well, I'd be accepting of it, and I once even dabbled in this area myself. This track only uses the rap-like vocals in the verse, and then switches to a funk-vocal briefly before the abortion of an emotional climax, but it's enough to make for the ultimate, depressing end to a weak release. The half-decent riffing storm that erupts near the close of the song comes far too late. Why wouldn't you put this up front? The end itself is the singer lamely shouting something like 'mastahbatin', ejaculatin' big fat zero'. Are you boys for real? This sounds like a band that have consigned themselves to death.

I was really hoping, what with the new singer, that Cyclone Temple had made some proper adjustments to the formula from I Hate Therefore I Am, and that I'd be hearing more of what I loved so much in their previous band. This material was clearly not going to help turn the tide of the ever-changing musical landscape of the 90s, and probably was not worthy of release in any capacity. What's worse, they will actually re-record these tracks for the second album...

Verdict: Epic Fail [2/10]

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