Genghis Tron - Board Up The House
Relapse Records
Electro Metal
10 songs (43:00)
Release year: 2008
Relapse Records
Reviewed by James

Electro-metal? The combination of blaring synths with metal riffs has already been tried before by Enter Shikari with moderately charming, inoffensive results. Genghis Tron, however, play something a lot darker and more vicious, occasionally sounding like Nine Inch Nails jamming with Pig Destroyer. Although the band are made up of two keyboards and a guitar (no bass, and drums duties are handled by a drum machine) plus aptly-named vocalist Mookie Singerman's midrange growl, the keys always feel like an integral part of the music. I'm not familiar with the band's debut Dead Mountain Mouth, but apparently the band have gone for a more keyboard-heavy sound here. Which is a good thing to be honest, as the metal elements of the band are a little bit dull. The guitar sounds a bit flat, spending much of the time hanging about awkwardly not really doing much, rather than ripping off your face like it should. Even on the heavy parts that work, such as the aural whiteout intro to Colony Collapse, the brunt of the sound is still carried by the keys. For a band who are supposed to be, for all intents and purposes, a metal band, that's not a good sign, and there's only so far the novelty of electro interludes can take you.

So it's a good thing the electro interludes are more than just a novelty. They're good, like really, properly good. Whether it's the weird, jerky, strangely danceable climax to the title track, or the blissed out comedown of Recursion (which also serves as a intro to album highlight I Won't Come Back Alive) Genghis Tron prove themselves to be fine purveyors of electronic music. To be honest, I wouldn't mind an album of full-on electronica, similar to what Nine Inch Nails have done with their recent Ghosts I-IV double set. There's enough keyboard goodness here to keep the album interesting throughout, even though the metal elements fall flat.

Board Up The House can be a fairly difficult record to get through, not just because of the steadfast refusal of the guitar to do anything interesting, but because the band don't seem to know what they want to be. We've got a range of styles ranging from the sludgy ebb-and-flow of the title track to the full-on cybergrind of Colony Collapse, to something approaching drone metal on Ergot (Relief). It's clear that the band are at their best when being either bestially aggressive, or leaning towards a more rock-tinged sound (Things Don't Look Good, I Won't Come Back Alive). Ergot (Relief) falls spectacularly flat on its own face, weighing in at 10 minutes devoid of anything but bland guitar work and uncharacteristically subdued keyboard washes. Perhaps I'm trying to make the band into something they're not, but I want to see them living up to the often slapped-on “cybergrind” tag, all chaotic guitar riffs and widdly keyboards. City On A Hill lives up to this, kicking you in the head before going into what can only described as dance music, back to the heaviness, into a mellow interlude before settling into a mid-paced chug, then going through all that again in a different order. It seems to me the band would do well to fit their musical ADD into individual songs rather than making the rather awkward, bitty record they have. It's quite good, sure, but it certainly doesn't live up to the promise it's easy to see in the band.

Killing Songs :
Recursion, City On A Hill, Colony Collapse
James quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Genghis Tron that we have reviewed:
Genghis Tron - Cloak of Love reviewed by Aaron and quoted no quote
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