Genghis Tron's 'Dream Weapon' Turns Humanity's End into an Epic Odyssey
Published Mar 23, 2021Meditations on humanity's impact on the Earth will remain prevalent as the world continues to navigate challenging times. On Dream Weapon, Genghis Tron deliver vivid explorations of deep notions itching at the collective consciousness.
The follow-up to 2008's genre-defying Board Up the House is a bold progression of the band's sound. Michael Sochynsky, one of Genghis Tron's two founding members, has said that the band's style has always amalgamated their collective musical influences at the time. With Dream Weapon, they continue this tradition as Blanck Mass' kaleidoscopic thrust, Skinny Puppy's industrial clatter and thump, Cluster and Jon Hopkins' cosmic electronics, and Tool's heavy and heady riffs and rhythms can be felt throughout, warped and merged into Genghis Tron's artistic vision.
Dream Weapon marks the arrival of new vocalist Tony Wolski, whose dreamy, airy tenor pairs nicely with the band's evolved style. They've also added a live drummer, Nick Yacyshyn (SUMAC/Baptists), who provides a vital, natural energy behind the kit. Kurt Ballou, who produced Genghis Tron's first two LPs, recorded and produced Dream Weapon, which also features additional engineering and production from Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe) and mastering by Heba Kadry, who together provide the band with a hefty yet luminous sound.
The album's concept finds the band expanding on "Relief," Board Up the House's closing track. Hamilton Jordan, Genghis Tron's other founding member, has said that "Relief" explored humanity's burden on the planet, Earth's enduring state after we're gone, and the inevitable sadness, beauty and relief that comes with this. Dream Weapon is a loosely based meditation on this theme, and while it follows the premise that humanity is past some point of no return, the most poignant lyrical notions come from aligning fatalistic metaphors with revelations that provide an air of possibility, both for people to question what they do in their lives now, and for the planet and its eventual liberation.
Musically, Dream Weapon's astral aura follows a similar arc through serene passages and epic movements of intensity and splendour. The album was intended to be more cohesive than previous efforts, and it plays out like a momentous and hypnotic psych-prog odyssey. After the cascading synths and swelling noise of opener "Exit Perfect Mind," "Pyrocene" tears into it with heavy drums and buzzing bass, with keys and guitar snaking through the percussion and Wolski's vocals floating through the mix. Demolition crew drumming and tightly wound revolving riffs barrel through the title track, while the deep-space droning ambience of "Desert Stairs" offers a brief reprieve before blasting off again. Genghis Tron showcase their musical range on epic tracks "Alone in the Heart of the Light," "Ritual Circle" and final reckoning closer "Great Mother," with each of these weaving otherworldly elements and layers that build, surge, spiral, crush and soar.
The band's ability to meld genres and evolve remains a lasting strength. Some fans might not appreciate the shift in sound (most significantly, there are no screams or blast beats), but it's not like Genghis Tron didn't hint at the potential for this sort of progression on Board Up the House, and a lot of change can happen with over a decade between albums. Dream Weapon is a transportive odyssey that casts humanity's end as an inevitable reality with an opportunity for renewal, and offers a space where listeners can reflect on what that might mean to them, or just lay back and enjoy the ride. (Relapse)