Friday, July 16, 2010

Cyclone Temple - My Friend Lonely (1994)

Having already had my expectations castrated by the band's debut I Hate Therefore I Am, and then the liberated, necrotic organs of my sex trampled upon the grass by the ensuing Building Errors in the Machine EP, I had absolutely no faith in Cyclone Temple whatsoever. That they even managed to release a second full-length is nothing short of a miracle, but there's a catch. The ill-titled My Friend Lonely is merely a re-recording of the ENTIRE Building Errors in the Machine EP, with a few extra tracks added, on a third label. Complete with one of the most retarded album covers I've ever seen in 35 years on this Earth, this 'new' material was surely going to win back audiences far and wide to the band's brand of street thrash and one of the most mediocre James Hetfield parodies in history.

Okay, so maybe not. I'll give Cyclone Temple that the newly recorded versions of "Hate Makes Hate", "Down the Drain", "Me, Myself and I", "Drug of the Masses" and "Killing Floor" at least benefit from a superior studio mix here, which almost compares with the production quality of the debut, at least running flush with what the few fans of that would have expected on a true follow-up. Perhaps De Lucia heard his own voice on the prior recordings, because he actually dials back the Billy/Hetfield style and sounds a little more like Sacred Reich's Phil Rind on several of the tracks like "Down the Drain". It makes the tracks slightly more tolerable, but the music itself isn't any better.

There are a trio of actual new tracks on the album, the first of which is "My Friend Lonely". The intro begins with a reggae lick, totally unnecessary, but hey, this is the fuckin' 90s man, we gotta branch out if we're to survive! Well, this might always have worked for the Bad Brains or 24-7 Spyz, but it's thankfully short here. The rest of the song sucks, because the riffs are just boring Prong-like chugging and horrible, emotional vocals that are all over the place, with some truly awkward lyrics and delivery in the chorus. When the guy gets all gritty and bluesy in the later verse, try to not laugh at how pathetic it becomes. "Comfortably Superficial" does feature a few half-decent riffs in there, with a nice melodic tone to the chugging, but the vocals suck and spoil the rest. The lead-in riff to the final new original, "Time Heals All" reminds me of a chugged out mutation to the intro in Flotsam & Jetsam's "No Place for Disgrace", and then the song lapses into groovy bass and De Lucia's dirty, digging Soul voice. It's probably the worst of the three, and the band breaking out their rap metal track "The Law of Relativity" once more as a 'hidden' attachment was probably not going to help matters much.

Hearing My Friend Lonely is like seeing a great man you once knew, deep in his cups and drunk out of his liver and kidneys at the seediest local dive you can find. How has he fallen this far? Should you offer him some change for a cup of coffee? Drive him over to a local rehab? End his misery with a slash of a pocket knife, quick clean getaway and a mock concern call to the EMTs? My solution for us to help Cyclone Temple is to go out and gather up every copy of this disc in existence, and commit it to an incinerator. This record absolutely fucking blows, and it's no wonder at all that the band were not going to outlive it for very long. The fact that sounds like rap and reggae were appearing here, even briefly, is proof positive that the band were succumbing to the outside pressure of the 90s cultural hodgepodge, and perhaps they would have been better served by starting another new band to explore these options. Not that this outfit was ever really worth saving, mind you, they'd been weak from the start, but compared to what is on this disc, even I Hate Therefore I Am seems like a job well done. The recording of these tracks may sound better than the EP, but the vocals are actually even worse since they've become clearer. The newer songs are tripe and this record is a complete waste of effort and time.

Verdict: Epic Fail [1.25/10]

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