Album Review – Argyle Park – Misguided (Remastered) (1995/2016)

Availability: Spotify, FiXT Store, Amazon and eBay (original editions)

*Argyle Park, was an Industrial/Christian metal supergroup that formed in 1994, featuring R.E.X veterans Klayton, then known as Scott Albert and using the pseudonyms Dread, Deathwish and Celldweller and Polish rapper Chris Martello under the alias Buka. The supergroup first appeared on a tribute album for Christian metal pioneer Steve Taylor in 1995, before their first and only album Misguided was released. Said album would feature Mark Solomon, Dirk Lemmenes and Jeff Bellew of Metalcore and emo band Stavesacre (1995 – present), and Christian hardcore band The Crucified (1984 – present); J.G Thirwell, then working under his experimental/industrial project Foetus (1981 – present); Daren Diolosa of industrial/death metal Klank  (1994 – present) and Circle of Dust (1988 – present) ; Jyro Xhan of pioneering Mortal (previously known as Mortal Wish) 1988 – 1996; Tommy Victor of hardcore punk band Prong (1986 – present), Chris Donohue of rock band Vigilantes of Love (1990 – present) and Lauren Boquette and Marco Forcone of Drown. This remastered edition will feature the younger brother of Scott Albert, Dan Levler (Dan Leveler, lvl) and Bret Autrey of Blue Stahli.

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Refuge
is a distorted spoken word introduction to the album, voiced by J.G Thirwell, speaking of the escape and refuge, Argyle Park, which also happens to be the name of a location within the birth place of all the founding members were born; Babylon, Long Island.  The narrator is venturing there during a thunderstorm, accompanied by his dog.  Headscrew is a fusion of industrial, death and early nu-metal with the introduction of hip-hop/rap lyrics and emphasizes on the proto-synthesizer like sound, which was in fact, as Klayton later explained in his Ask Klayton #37 video a couple of days ago, really manipulated samples. As he at the time of Circle of Dust, which Argyle Park coincided with didn’t have access to real synthesizers at the time of the bands’ creation. Agony is a blend of industrial metal and world beat and again proto-nu metal, with voice samples. The main vocalist featured in Jyro is uses clean and hip-hop styled delivery. Midway through the track (3:32 until 5:03), you can hear rudiments of what would become the featured genre of Celldweller, primarily for his debut Celldweller (2003) and Wish upon a Blackstar (2009 – 2012), for the experimental usage of electronic house, and trance.

Futile uses IDM, lo-fi, trance and worldbeat to create this catchy yet creepy interval, with manipulated cries and screams. Scarred for Life is the track that will lead to the future side project of Celldweller, which carries the core entity of the debut album. It moves further away from metal and focuses more on intelligent dance music, and electronic rock. What also hints to this, is the difference in Scott Albert’s vocals, they are clean if not harshened, whilst as with Circle of Dust they are blunt and are deliberately not meant to be tuneful. A Burden’s Folly follows the same shortened root in track duration, but instead of being dance orientated, it is full on industrial death, and has interesting seductive tones however the lyrical context is very dark and very controversial.

Circle – Redux
shakes things up by turning into an electronic dance music track, by exploring trance and ambient and electronic a, with clean sampled female voices. This preludes to what would become of the likes of British modern peers Nero with their album Welcome Reality (2011) and particular comparable tracks My Eyes, Promises and Innocence, slow, relaxing with complex lyrical direction. Leave Me Alone, led by guest artist Drown is an explosion of industrial, intelligence dance music, and thrash metal; with intermissions of honky-tonk, blues, and carnival music. Violent combines industrial metal and IDM to create a metaphorically ‘violent’ track which links this project back to Albert’s Circle of Dust, markedly the workings found on Brainchild, which as was mentioned on the review, was inspired by a defunked side project and got re-incorporated back into the Circle of Dust franchise. Brainchild, as is the subsequent track, Violent, both contain very aggressive, fast paced tones.

Diesel
is the second interval, lasting just over a minute is a slowed, manipulated track of industrial and glitch, and concurrently leads into Gutterboy an enigmatic electronic metal piece, with the power of industrial metal pushing its way through, and features lyrical samples of the earlier track ‘Leave Me Alone’. In addition, there is mild intermittence of trance and ambient beneath the hardcore instrumentation. Og is the third and final interval, and carries forward from Refuge with it being a primarily spoken piece. The effect is inspired by a vintage and damaged radio signal, with deliberate echo as if it’s being heard within an abandoned building or other location. It records someone’s search for a passenger, and though the intent of the original recording to be endearing, it has been turned into something sinister.

Misanthrope returns to the founding origins of industrial and thrash metal for this track, and amazingly samples the cult sci-fi classic The Lawnmower Man (1992), starring Pierce Bronson and Jeff Fahey based on the short story of the same name, by Stephen King (1975). The scene that is used is after Jobe transforms into the highly intelligent being and becomes one with virtual reality and as a consequence of his growing intelligence, comes to hate humanity after he realizes the abuse he endured. He becomes the epitome of a misanthrope. Skin Shed is the first of the two tracks featuring Tommy Victor of Prong, the second being Doomsayer, also second collaboration with Mark Solomon, which I’ll come to in a second. The former of the collaboration tracks embodies industrial, crossover thrash and groove metal, and primarily is led by Scott Albert vocally, but is later joined by Victor half way through, as well as transforming into a pure IDM not long after  (3:55 – 4:48), and for the remaining minutes resumes to flip back and forth from one genre to the other. Coming to their second partnership, featuring Solomon, Doomsayer, like Headscrew is full on nu metal, and is the first to be of rap rock origin for the usage of ‘golden age’ hip hop content.

Uffern is an investigational instrumental track inspired by drone; dark ambient and fictionalized outer-space sounds.  Fanny Pack, is the first track to feature Blue Stahli in the remastered mix, and is the third to have Mark Solomon from the original version; and once again is of early-nu metal and rap rock genre. Because of Autrey’s involvement, this edition has more of an electronic rock feel, and is in-fact fused into the original conception.  The Communist Masters of Deceit re-embraces industrial, fusing stutter (pioneered by Brian Tanseau, better known as BT) and electronic house. Not dissimilar from A Burden’s Folly, the lyrical direction is provocative due to the discussion of sex, the religious superstition of sodomy and original sin.

Lonely is a mellow electronic track at first, uniting progressive trance and house and at 3:08 bursts into harsh industrial and thrash metal for a minute and then randomly changes back into a softer tone. This instrumentally could illustrate the individual’s vulnerability into the descent of insanity when exposed to excessive loneliness. Fanny Pack vs Doomsayer is a playful reproduction of the Solomon cooperated songs, combining the instrumental distribution and lyrical content of both.

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Written for Relive the Music
http://www.relivethemusic.net

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