With its fat-ass layered Moog and screamo-belto alternations and six-minute length and tension-building ascent to its mountainous closing riff, the title track off Board up the House is the most epic song I’ve heard this year. The members of Genghis Tron place it as the opener on their second LP, a big middle finger to anyone that wrote them off as a drums- and bass-free novelty electro-grind act. Without compromising a bit of the trio’s uniqueness, Board Up the House catapults Genghis Tron past any accusations of gimmickry and establishes them as a fucking great metal band, whichever modifier you attach to the term.
That album title could refer to how Genghis Tron smoothed over the scar tissue between the synthetic and organic elements they sutured together on their debut LP, Dead Mountain Mouth (2006, Crucial Blast). Sci-fi keys and distorted guitar form the mutant DNA helix of “Board up the House“ and “City on a Hill.” Rip apart the two strands and you’d have a righteous Goblin or Dillinger Escape Plan track; splice ’em together and they infect each other. The metallic grind takes on an atmospheric cast, the cheeseball digitalia turns vicious, and whatever vestigial WTF? humor the combination of the two might imply is obliterated.
No question Genghis Tron are indebted to DEP for the timeshifting spazz-grind riffage in “Endless Teeth” and “The Feast.” And guitarist Hamilton Jordan rips Meshuggah for the killer coda of “Things Don’t Look Good” — perhaps an act of solidarity between two bands that use the same impressively lifelike drum programming software. But even when Genghis Tron borrow from other bands in passing, they still sound entirely like themselves. Michael Sochynsky’s programmed excursions into icy IDM and jungle certainly make a difference. Mostly it’s Genghis Tron’s control over the bulging dynamics of their music. Every riff and Powerbook squiggle has a purpose.
While each of Genghis Tron’s three members has a fair claim to the MVP award, Mookie Singerman gets the “most improved Genghis Tron member” honor for finally making good on his surname. Singerman layers proper clean vocals atop “Things Don’t Look Good” and “I Won’t Come Back Alive,” adding to their prog-level hugeness. The increased melodic writing is yet another successful experiment for a band that refuses to play it safe. As the ten-minute doom churn of “Relief” brings Board up the House to its climactic close, that all-too-infrequent sense of euphoria sets in. Yep, you’ll be listening to this one again.