Electronic, Grindcore, Metal

Genghis Tron – Dream Weapon (Review | Interview)

After 13 years of absence Genghis Tron are back with their new album Dream Weapon. Before we come to our verdict of this record (hint: it is awesome), Michael (Sochynsky, keyboards and programming) was so kind to answer some questions we had beforehand regarding the cover of the album, the new members and other interesting things. Enjoy!

Transcended Music Blog: The cover seems kind of quiet and idyllic. What does the cover represent and what do you find on top of the ladder? How does it correspond to the album‘s theme?

Genghis Tron: I agree there is a sense of serenity, but there’s also something unsettling.  Who built this structure and where did they go?  Why is it so quiet now?  And where does that ladder go?  Ultimately, I think the album cover is open to interpretation, but we did want to tie it to some of the album’s themes, which explore coming to terms with humanity’s demise, and what it means for the planet.

How did the two new members catch your attention?

Once Hamilton and I decided that we wanted to work with a drummer on this album, the first person we asked was Nick Yacyshyn.  Kurt Ballou from Converge made the introduction for us, and from there we just started chatting with Nick and sending him demos.  At first, I think he maybe had some hesitancy about the project based on what he knew about our old albums.  But once he heard a few demos of the new material, he was in.  From there, we started trading ideas and fleshing things out.  Things came together with Tony Wolski, our new singer, in a very similar way.  We reached out to him just to explore the relationship, but things very quickly “clicked” and we knew we wanted him to be a part of the project.  It was really enjoyable working with both Nick and Tony. They are both very creative, insightful musicians.  The album would be nothing without them.

Now that, at least in some parts of the world, the COVID restrictions are taken back, will you be touring? What band would you like to accompany you?

This is something that we are still figuring out.  We’d love to play some shows, but we are still working out the mechanics.  Don’t get your hopes up quite yet, but we shall see.

Code Orange did a superb job in streaming live shows and gave the audience an immersive experience. Are live-streams an option for you?

That’s another thing we are still exploring.  Patience!

Now that it’s been 13 years since your last album, what band or artist that is currently on hiatus should release an album?

That is an excellent question! It’s actually pretty hard to think of a band from the 80s or 90s that hasn’t already reunited.  It seems like every year that goes by, more bands reunite.  I would have loved for D.A.F. (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft) from your home country Germany to put out more music, but sadly Gabi Delgado-Lopez passed away last year.  D.A.F. explored a lot of different styles and are important for much more than just this one song, but I think their song Brothers is one of the best new wave/synth pop tracks of all time, and I love how it has this subtle industrial undercurrent.

Your musical approach was and still is quite unique. Which releases caught you really off guard in the last two years?

This question keeps coming up in interviews and I’m totally unprepared!  I am terrible at keeping up with contemporary music.  But here are a few recent things I have really enjoyed: Mestarin Kynsi by Oranssi Pazuzu; I by Follakzoid; all of the EPs Skee Mask has been putting out; Ecstatic Computation by Caterina Barbieri; everything Alessandro Cortini does.

Band: Genghis Tron
Album: Dream Weapon
Genre: Hardcore / Electro / Grindcore
Country: USA
Release Date: 26th of March 2021
Released via Relapse Records
Cover Artwork © Relapse Records

It is no secret, that some of the dudes of Transcended Music Blog (the author of this review) are big fans of very unconditional bands and if one band can surely carry this tag, it is Genghis Tron.

Nestled somewhere between Grindcore, Metal und Electronica, Genghis Tron caused quite a stir 2005 with the release of their Cloak of Love EP and the following debut Dead Mountain Mouth 2006. With two keyboards and a guitar they pushed and pulled their listeners through wild outbursts under the production of Kurt Ballou (who is also the producer of this album). Their second album Board up the House saw them more focused and atmospheric but challenging nonetheless. But shortly after that, Genghis Tron were put on hiatus and went silent for the following years.

13 years forward Genghis Tron return without their vocalist Mookie Singerman but with the addition of their new singer Tony Wolski (The Armed) and Nick Yacyshyn (Sumac / Baptists) behind the drum kit.

You’ll immediately notice the addition of a “real” drummer instead of a drum-computer. Some might say that they ditched a trademark of their sound but once you hear it in the whole scheme of things, you realize that they just added another dimension to their sound as a whole.

The two singles “Dream Weapon” and “Ritual Cycle” had a much more ethereal feel to it, sometimes even meditative. There were driving rhythms, synths and less screaming than before, but nonetheless I was as hooked as before and a warm rush of nostalgia set in, especially when the synths kicked in in “Dream Weapon“.

The songs of Dream Weapon can be roughly divided into two groups: fitting instrumentals („Exit Perfect Mind“ blends perfectly into „Pyrocene“ while „Single Black Point“ stands great on its own) and epic, ebbing and flowing tracks like the aforementioned “Ritual Cycle” or the album closer “Great Mother“. The opener “Pyrocene” has heavy Nine Inch Nails vibes (listen to the Nine Inch Nails song “Burn” and you will hear it) while “Alone in the Heart of Light” slowly but steadily grows from tipping toes to big, pounding steps and ever swelling synths.

Dream Weapon is an early contender for the album of year for me. I was really upset (to put it mildly) when Genghis Tron went on hiatus but it really sparks a whole lot of joy in me to hear them sound so fresh and interesting after this long time. Instead of trying to repeat themselves, Genghis Tron re-invented their sound with adding fresh blood and a new approach to their trademark sound.

For people new to Genghis Tron this is an excellent starting-point, while old Genghis Tron fans might be astonished by the musical turn they took, but they will ultimately be rewarded.

9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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