The Arsonist and the Architect
Shortly after bargain basement Frankenstein Dr. Weird unleashed anthropomorphic fast food on New Jersey, he moved on to his next project: a cutting edge metallic hardcore band cobbled together from leftover pieces of Human Remains, Creation is Crucifixion and Unruh, creating a post-singularity robot fighting league killbot. Like those contemporaries (as well as Burnt by the Sun with whom they shared a split), Luddite Clone packed grind intensity, death metal heft and hardcore passion into one package long before all that shit became a tiresome cliché. Like those other bands, Luddite Clone never skimped on the technical prowess, particularly unsung secret weapon Kevin Hannum whose tortuous, jazz-speckled bass brings both depth focus to the band.
“Oratory of a Jigsaw” is Dark City-sampling machine shop full of power drills riffs boring through your skull to excoriate the sweetmeats beyond while frontman Andy Cummings does his spittle-flecked R. Lee Ermey impersonation over your shoulder. And the other five songs are just as composed and powerful. “Circle Template” hovers and pecks like the marauding seagulls from The Birds, Andrew Shearer and Ian Berkowitz’s guitars crest against the whitewater tug of Bob Raf’s drums on “Arthropod” and “The Contortionist” wracks bone and tendon like David Blaine against a backdrop of Hannum’s bebop bass and record scratch breakdowns.
This was an EP so good Relapse immediate snapped it up and widely reissued it. Unfortunately, Luddite Clone flared like a supernova in 2000, issuing both The Arsonist and the Architect and their split with Burnt by the Sun. But like a solar implosion, the band quickly fizzled. A split live album with The Esoteric (the ex-Coalesce one not the doom one), chronicling Luddite Clone’s final show at CBGB’s, was the band’s epitaph in 2001.