The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Genghis Tron – Board Up the House
When I first heard Genghis Tron, it was when I saw them live on Converge’s 2008 tour. Now I knew of the band, but never actually listened to any of their songs, so as my brother and I waited for them to finish setting up their gear, I couldn’t help but notice a simple but ultimately effective row of lights they were assembling around the stage. So my anticipation of not only seeing them but actually getting to hear them was growing. This was around the same time they were releasing their newest full-length, Board Up the House, an album that combined the ferocity of grindcore and noise with different types of electronic music, and the outcome was a creative and experimental album that made me an instant fan…
They opened with the title track from their new album (unbeknownst to me at the time), and as the lights went out and their personal light system lit up and went along with the hauntingly growing beat that began their set, that’s all it took to grab my full attention. The build up, which lasts a little over a minute is then meet with a chaotic burst of deep chords being rung out over the sounds of the drum machine, and from there on the song explodes into a wall of sound that is all over the place. But when it comes to Genghis Tron, they do it with such precision that the outcome is something to behold, they manage to incorporate melody, chaos and electronic beats into one cohesive package.
I pretty much went backwards with Genghis Tron, starting with Board Up the House and working my way back to their first EP, Cloak of Love. I guess the draw for me always coming back to Board Up the House, was not only because it was my first introduction to the band, but how quickly it became a favorite of mine and was always in constant rotation. The way they varied between their relatively chaotic sound and clean, synth-subdued melodic passages was something I found comfort in. Perhaps it was due to recent events in my life that was nothing but chaos and brief moments of serenity. It’s as though I was meant to hear this band at that time in my life.
The album sees a darker side of the band, and while it does downplay their grind roots at certain parts, it allows their chaotic past to re-enter when applicable, which is evident on tracks like “Colony Collapse”, “City on a Hill” and “The Feast”. Board Up the House is more cohesive and consistent than their previous full-length, Dead Mountain Mouth, and this shows both the bands maturity and growth as musicians, moving past the gimmick of being one of those bands that merely incorporate electronic music and dance beats into their music just for the hell of it, but rather taking what they did in past releases and building upon it.
What also helps this album is it’s production, which is handled by none other than Kurt Ballou. The man is a genius when it comes to getting the best sound out of chaotic bands. Perhaps it due to his longtime involvement with his own band Converge, but his presence is felt throughout the album, and I believe this is what helps in adding that extra layer of lasting power. This is an album that I always have in my rotation, and while I may not listen to it for a month or two, it always makes a return, and upon hearing the first track I instantly go back to 2008, where I first witnessed the chaotic bliss that is Genghis Tron. As of now they are on hiatus, but here’s to hoping they return, sooner rather than later.
Genghis Tron – “Board Up the House”