Genghis Tron – ‘Dream Weapon’ | Album Review

Dream Weapon

Dream Weapon is out now via Relapse Records.

After a thirteen year-long hiatus since their last critically appraised endeavour Board Up the House’s release, Genghis Tron pull themselves back into action with their third full-length album Dream Weapon. Instead of the iconic blend of styles that portrayed the band’s avant-garde approach to metal, Dream Weapon stands as a slightly less dynamic, yet more atmospheric and well-paced crossroads between prog, post-rock, and electronica.

Thirteen years have led to some drastic changes in the band’s line-up, all of them reflecting heavily on their newfound direction. One of which is the replacement of original vocalist Mookie Singerman with Tony Wolski. If Singerman’s voice was a symbol for the band’s visceral and unrestrained collective spirit, Wolski’s stands for the reframing of the group as a more mature and focused entity.

The second major shift lies behind the drumkit, with the addition of Nick Yacyshyn (Sumac, Baptists). In contrast with the drum machine Genghis Tron made use of in previous records, Yacyshyn’s all-around superb grooves and nuanced playstyle lends a more natural edge to the whole record. Worth noting is also Kurt Ballou’s helping hand on the production side of the record. As usual, solid job in that regard.

It’s not all that uncommon to see artists completely flip their sound between albums. Dream Weapon, case in point, pretty much does a one-eighty on grounds trod by their predecessor’s work. The effect-heavy vocals are subtle and unintrusive, but nevertheless befitting. Instruments realign to form a soundtrack that jettisons chaos so as to embrace swirling, lucid melodies.

But although most vestiges of what had once been an extreme metal act have been left in the dust, their new sound still unyieldingly carries that experimentality and progressiveness. Tracks like ‘Pyrocene’ and ‘Dream Weapon’ get hectic as drumming segments with tight, speedy tempos lead through, only to eventually hit a wave of elation as both tracks unfold into their ethereal, explosive conclusions.

‘Ritual Circle’ conjures up a concoction of retro synths and hi-hat/tom combos stuck in a perpetual crescendo, accompanied by Wolski’s thematically appropriate and hazily-sung verses “Wasted hours / Turned to seasons / Now a lifetime / What to show?”. The following track ‘Single Black Point’ stands out for its ability to contrast Yachyshyn’s groovy chops with a somewhat linear yet interesting song structure.

As a whole, the experience here envisioned is one of bewitchment. Although repetitive in its core composition, there’s never really a moment that seems out of place on the album. In its own right, it is an intricate piece of work that does away with the over-the-top moments of Board Up the House – which in all honesty will be sorely missed. But what Dream Weapon offers through its consistent pacing and methodological song writing is all too wonderful for me to even complain.

Dream Weapon can be streamed or purchased here.

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