Genghis Tron Credit: Courtesy of Relapse Records

In a 2020 filled with unwanted surprises, one bright spot was the unexpected reunion of experimental metal group Genghis Tron after a self-described “indefinite” hiatus. Dream Weapon, the New York-based band’s first album in 13 years, departs from the sound of their earlier records in a way that may startle the group’s patient fans, but it’s worth the wait. Despite their punny name, during their brief tenure in the mid- to late 2000s Genghis Tron had a reputation for electro-metal brutality. Their second and until now final album, 2008’s critically lauded Board Up the House, was Nintendocore as nightmare fuel, with duelling synths and Hamilton Jordan’s beefy guitar accompanied by abrasive vocals from front man Mookie Singerman. So it’d be reasonable to expect a Genghis Tron album recorded during the hellscape of 2020 to reflect the chaos of the Now Times. But rather than issue another pummelling metal opus, the band have drawn more from other genres on Dream Weapon—a little new wave here, some progressive rock there—to create lush and ethereal soundscapes underscored with a heap of dread. Live drums from Sumac powerhouse Nick Yacyshyn replace the drum machines of past Genghis Tron releases, intertwining with Michael Sochynsky’s spiraling synths and the hazy, melodic singing of new vocalist Tony Wolski. “Alone in the Heart of the Light” balances shoegaze-style psychedelia with plenty of noise, and final track “Great Mother” slowly builds to a thunderous close while echoing the sparse synth lines of the album’s introduction. While they’re still plenty heavy, it’s probably safe to say that Genghis Tron aren’t really a metal band anymore. Nonetheless, Dream Weapon makes a meditative, brooding return to their signature disturbia.   v