New York’s Genghis Tron have returned with Dream Weapon, their first new full-length album in over a decade, and just as before, the group sounds ambitious.
On Dream Weapon, which is available now from Relapse Records, the band explore a surreal sonic world that feels like — as the title suggests — a dream. Textures here, including the drumming from new addition Nick Yacyshyn, feel invitingly familiar, but with repetitiously trance-like rhythms, the music feels like a suddenly materialized oil lamp leading the way into some teeming forest overlaid with an almost mystical sense of possibility.
The group somewhat establishes an earthy grounding but whisks it away, leaving starry synths with quite full tones alongside contemplation-oriented incarnations of their other instrumentation. None of the instrumentals feel particularly heavy in any sort of metallic sense. Instead, Genghis Tron perform a sort of formidably hypnotic rock that feels like a slowly building psychedelic fog.
The journey feels underpinned by gnawing anxiety, but Genghis Tron have expanded the tension to a point where there’s a thread of tranquility that feels refreshing. The music isn’t suffocating; instead, it’s certain, and the songs feel strong.
Some of the performances feel airily off-kilter like getting caught in some kind of tumble to the ground that’s playing out on repeat, but the album is not abrasive, striking a delicate and compelling balance. Instead of hitting the harsh ground, a cloud swoops in, catches you, and rushes off towards the horizon.
It’s like an album-length experience of transforming tension into a permeating sense of peace via some alluringly strange musical alchemy.
The music feels reminiscent of the vibes of the 2018 Natalie Portman movie Annihilation, in which an expansive substance-like force known as “the shimmer” appears, transforming all within it into twisted versions of life on the outside. The otherworldly fog produces both monsters like a formidable alligator sporting rows of shark teeth and testaments to possibility like deer with flowers growing from their antlers.
Genghis Tron sound like they’re exploring the dance between tension and beauty across Dream Weapon, and rather than sticking to one side of this equation, they just about constantly shift their footing, immersing these songs in metaphysical unease. The feelings seem intertwined within the album’s world.
“Ritual Circle” and “Great Mother” feature pointedly intense moments, but much of the music across the album as a whole feels easily placed just before full-on crescendos that never arrive. There are no sudden break-outs into any sort of full-fledged musical storm, although the music sometimes feels like it’s building to such an event (thanks in part to Yacyshyn’s immersively swirling drum rhythms).
From “Pyrocene” (the album’s second track overall) onward, Genghis Tron often settle into relatively mid-range performances that feel attentively on-edge. It’s stark, yet serene. Some of the album’s heaviest riffing appears on “Single Black Point,” which is entirely instrumental and opens with jagged and formidable guitars that mellow out as the song proceeds.
No matter the absent crescendos, Dream Weapon feels edifying, as Genghis Tron sound like they’re quietly celebrating possibility.
Purchase this album at this link.