Genghis Tron - Dream Weapon review




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Reviewer:
8.2

23 users:
7.70
Band: Genghis Tron
Album: Dream Weapon
Release date: March 2021


01. Exit Perfect Mind
02. Pyrocene
03. Dream Weapon
04. Desert Stairs
05. Alone In The Heart Of The Light
06. Ritual Circle
07. Single Black Point
08. Great Mother


Anyone expecting Genghis Tron's first record in the past decade to sound like their pre-hiatus material is going to be surprised by Dream Weapon, but it wouldn't be Genghis Tron if it was predictable, would it?

Genghis Tron were an up-and-coming force in experimental metal in the mid-late 2000s, their cybergrind base developing into an eclectic mixture of extreme music and electronica on 2008's Board Up The House. However, that record signaled the end of the line for Genghis Tron, at least for a time, as the band entered a hiatus starting in 2010. A decade later and the project has been revived, albeit without founding member and vocalist Mookie Singerman; in his place is Tony Wolski (most notably associated with hardcore punk band The Armed). Additionally, the new-look Genghis Tron features a drummer for the first time, with Sumac's Nick Yacyshyn behind the kit. What has a decade and a shake-up to their roster done to Genghis Tron's sound?

Probably the most common genre tag applied to the group prior to their hiatus was cybergrind; however, this now needs a revision, as there is no grindcore to be found on Dream Weapon. Hell, there's not a huge amount to be found in terms of metal at all. It's first and foremost an electronic album, with the soundscapes dominated by layers of euphoric synths and robotic effects-laden vocals. That's not to say there's no metal on the album; the title track, the heaviest song here, opens with a frenetic assault on the drums and eventually moves into a poised guitar-dominated groove, whilst the likes of "Ritual Circle" (the former featuring the only harsh vocals on the record) and "Dream Mother" also feature substantial guitar-driven sections. However, these are arguably in the minority on Dream Weapon; there's more here that's in line with Boards Of Canada than with Benighted.

However, just because the metal has moved to the background, this doesn't mean that the record is not good, not by any stretch of the imagination. Dream Weapon is a very enjoyable album; the electronics vary from quieter, airy territory that feels almost like indietronica, to more ambient or synth-pop material, right to engrossing waves of overpowering sound. 'Engrossing' is a fair description of a lot of the material on Dream Weapon; the record as a whole has this uplifting, euphoric sheen to it, but it varies considerably in intensity, with several tracks (including "Alone In The Heart Of Night", "Ritual Circle" and "Great Mother") gradually layering, building in intensity and volume in a post-rock-esque manner, until they start to overwhelm listeners. It's an approach that's employed several times during the album, but it works very effectively each and every time.

Still, the biggest strength of Dream Weapon is the new addition; considering the band previously eschewed the use of drums, Nick Yacyshyn really is the star of the show here. His varied approaches, whether layering on the intensity using toms or exploding like on "Dream Weapon", always drive and elevate each track. His starring role is aided by a particularly prominent position in the mix; the drums typically sound huge on Dream Weapon, really maximizing their impact without it ever feeling overwhelming. When the band begin to add layer upon layer of electronics and/or guitars to flesh out the mix and approach a climax, the drums react in kind to carry the momentum.

Overall, Dream Weapon is a very successful attempt at this new sound. Still, is it enough to avoid long-time fans mourning the loss of their extreme metal side? I guess there'll be some people that are never satisfied, but I think most people will be able to fully appreciate this album on its own terms. Probably the only thing I would say is that the album shines most brightly for me in the moments where they use the guitars to intensify the sound; the build towards borderline extreme territory on "Ritual Circle" is gripping, and the interplay between the synths, drums, guitars and ethereal, robotic vocals makes "Great Mother" the crowning achievement of the record, right up until it finishes with the same oscillating synth motif that begins the record on "Exit Perfect Mind".

I hope that if the band continues to make music post-hiatus, they decide to retain some of their heaviness (hell, it would seem a bit pointless to recruit musicians associated with bands as heavy as Sumac and The Armed just to go fully electronic), as it's a really useful weapon in their arsenal. However, I'd say Dream Weapon is right up there in quality with Board Up The House; it's a unexpected but very successful return to music, and one that shows that the group's talents are not restricted by genres.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 26.03.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 43 users
27.03.2021 - 12:01
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Listening to this now and really like their approach on electronica. Could go toe to toe with some of the best in the genre.
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Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

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27.03.2021 - 14:13
Witchslayer

You both got me interested in this. And not only because I delved into electronica a lot lately.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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27.03.2021 - 16:27
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Witchslayer on 27.03.2021 at 14:13

You both got me interested in this. And not only because I delved into electronica a lot lately.

Leave some reccs out of your recent finds
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Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

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28.03.2021 - 16:33
Witchslayer

Plenty of OSI vibes there, reminds me of their first two albums mostly. Especially the vocal lines and overall mood. Those guys really have a touch for electronic sound.
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Avantgarde / Oriental Black; Psychedelic / Stoner; Post / Sludge; Djent / Prog; Jazz Rock / Metal / Fusion / Cool Jazz; Ambient / Ambient Techno
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