Genghis Tron

Dream Weapon

Written by: AP on 19/12/2021 17:32:55

Full disclosure: when I first gave “Dream Weapon” a spin, I was sure I had confused Genghis Tron with some other artist with a similar name that I used to dig in my younger years. This record is so fundamentally different to anything released by the Poughkeepsie-based trio-turned-quartet in the past that one could have forgiven them for changing their name, but then on the other hand, they always have been forward thinking and unpredictable. They have emerged from their ten-year hiatus a band transformed, leaving the so-called ‘cybergrind’ of their seminal 2008 offering “Board Up the House” behind in favour of shoegaze and krautrock, and introducing a new line-up featuring Tony Wolski of The Armed on vocals and, for the first time, an actual live drummer in SUMAC’s Nick Yacyshyn. So if you were expecting to hear a maelstrom of frenetic screams, Gatling drums and glistening Nintendo sounds, you should nullify those expectations and instead treat “Dream Weapon” like the clean slate that it is.

As the album’s title suggests, the four musicians have decided to explore an ethereal and dreamlike soundscape, built by stacking layer upon layer of melody from both Michael Sochynsky’s keyboards and Hamilton Jordan’s guitar and effect pedals onto hypnotic drum patterns by Yacyshyn. Wolski’s featherweight vocals are the perfect match for such instrumentation, drifting between the sheets of instrumentals like a hallucinogenic incense and creating a loose post-apocalyptic narrative through his elusive, open-ended lyricism. His voice is a paradox of disaffection and emotion, guiding you as you float through the cinematic dreamscape of songs like “Pyrocene” and “Alone in the Heart of the Light”, and acting as a tempering influence on the more urgent, galloping title track. The latter is one of the definitive highlights on the record thanks to its warm, tapped guitar melody and general Sonic Youth-on-acid vibe, and is only bettered by the stunning mantlepiece “Ritual Circle”, which reminds me of the British space rock veterans in Loop. It is a fantastic piece of music; expansive in its scope, rich in melody, and altogether psychedelic in its effect, growing more voluptuous by the minute and evoking visions of an exploding rainbow. There is plenty of diversity packed into the album thus, and this is further underlined by the penultimate “Single Black Point”, which features a guitar riff that may as well have been left over from the sessions for the Dillinger Escape Plan’s 2007 effort “Ire Works”.

Closing the record off, “Great Mother” delivers another nine minutes of spine tingle, with Jordan and Sochynsky finding a damn near divine symbiosis of guitar and keyboard from which to unleash both swells of drama and periods of meditative contemplation. It provides the icing to an album that once again cements Genghis Tron as one of the most innovative bands out there — now more rock than metal, but still having the same, unquenched thirst for experimentation. It sounds like Kraftwerk’s 1974 outing “Autobahn”, Depeche Mode’s 1987 album “Music for the Masses”, and Nine Inch Nails’ 1999 effort “The Fragile” put through a blender and then injected with strong doses of dream pop, noise rock and shoegaze to produce music that is not only unique, but also incredibly satisfying to listen to. I thus recommend leaving your idea of Genghis Tron circa 2008 where it belongs — in the back of your memory — and embracing this new, yet no less awe-inspiring incarnation of the band via one of 2021’s most unexpected and surprising records.

8

Download: Pyrocene, Dream Weapon, Ritual Circle, Great Mother
For the fans of: My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Sonic Youth, Zombi
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.03.2021
Relapse Records

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