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Genghis Tron - Board Up the House (Cover Artwork)

Genghis Tron

Genghis Tron: Board Up the HouseBoard Up the House (2008)
Relapse Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Thus_Spoke_SeanThus_Spoke_Sean
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The first time I sat down with Board Up the House, I was a little disappointed. I loved their previous effort, Dead Mountain Mouth, and had been impressed with the live material I had heard, so I had probably gotten myself a little too excited for this release. But after multiple listens, I feel ver.
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The first time I sat down with Board Up the House, I was a little disappointed. I loved their previous effort, Dead Mountain Mouth, and had been impressed with the live material I had heard, so I had probably gotten myself a little too excited for this release. But after multiple listens, I feel very comfortable saying that anyone going into this album (regardless of whether you end up loving or hating it) is in for some pretty big surprises.

First things first: less grind, fewer blast beats. What? Really? Really. What there is is a lot more melody to be found on Board Up the House, and it comes from each member of the band. The guitars and keyboards are even more interweaved and indiscernible, as guitarist Hamilton Jordan is found playing more 'lines' than chords. Vocalist Mookie Singerman even gets down with some melody, on tracks like "Things Do Not Look Good" and phenomenally long closer "Ergot (Relief)." Singerman's new found voice is a major part of this phenomenal album, as the slower, open melodic spaces created by the band seem to demand exactly this kind of vocal delivery. Of course, he is still screaming most of the time, but when needed his non-scream is extremely complimentary.

While writing, Genghis Tron's musical scope was clearly left wide open as the album broods across different terrain with the abandon of dying men sane enough to not get reckless. Compared to their previous releases a lot of the material found here could be described as slower, but an assault on your ears has not completely been surrendered. Tracks like "Blow Back" and "Endless Teeth" recall the spazz grind I was expecting upon first listen. Three 'interludes' or 'instrumental' tracks play an interesting game with the tracking of Board Up the House. The first of three, "Recursion" shows an obvious love for the sounds of Richard D. James, with a playful melody and smart programming. As the tracks continue to pop up, their structure degrades; harder melodies appear only to break down, and in the end, the listener is left only with noise. The play between the tracks is engaging enough for me to get over my initial reaction of "another interlude?!?" and with rest of the tracks being so meaty, they serve a necessary reprieve. The only real qualm I have with this release is the drum programming. While Michael Sochynsky and the group seemed to grab (the Meshuggah approved electronic program) Drumkit from Hell by the balls on Dead Mountain Mouth, the drumming demands of slower material seem more of a challenge for the group. The parts are in no way bad, and I don't want to tread on the 'no drummer' subject, but at times the part parts repeat where instead I feel a change that doesn't come.

Board Up the House is another huge step from Genghis Tron, and for the most part they are very successful with their creative choices. If I had my way, this album would be an 'extreme' for the band, who would take their lessons learned, and apply them to something…faster. The album is just written, executed, and works too well for me not to recognize it as something special. Upon first listen I may have given it something in the three-star range. There have been times when I would have given it somewhere above four stars. On the whole I will round up, as I continue to like this album more and more with each successive listen. With the slew of bands taking clear tips from Isis and Neurosis, it seems ironically perfect that a young electro-grind band would be able to not just understand and repeat, but apply and create, making a truly different and special album.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
thus_spoke_sean (February 29, 2008)

Last.fm, Wikipedia, the Lovepump United online store for the vinyl edition, and the real CD, which, uh, I own, say different.

I'm gonig to go ahead and say you are probably right.

usversusthem (February 29, 2008)

"uh, I just checked on Amazon.com and thier track listing is the same as the copy i have....don't know what to tell ya."

Last.fm, Wikipedia, the Lovepump United online store for the vinyl edition, and the real CD, which, uh, I own, say different. I admit when I downloaded the leak (before my copy arrived in the mail) I checked the Amazon store and saw that the titles were the same, but I guess... they have their head up their asses. It wouldn't be the first time they were wrong.

steveman (February 28, 2008)

"I think having a drum machine really deadens this band's live show."

It's sad but it does a bit. They were not intense at all live, especially not when followed by A Life Once Lost and DEP. The guitarist makes cool faces though.

Solid review. I'm hoping to pick up the limited version of the vinyl when they come around on tour.

thus_spoke_sean (February 28, 2008)

Oh and... the reviewer totally has the titles wrong. The leaked version split the title of track 7, "The Whips Blow Back" into "Blow Back" and "The Whips" and then shifted the next two songs down one, with track ten's title, Ergot, getting incorporated into track eleven, "Relief."

Could be true, I reviewed the leaked version. My vinyl is still in the mail.

uh, I just checked on Amazon.com and thier track listing is the same as the copy i have....don't know what to tell ya.

usversusthem (February 27, 2008)

Oh and... the reviewer totally has the titles wrong. The leaked version split the title of track 7, "The Whips Blow Back" into "Blow Back" and "The Whips" and then shifted the next two songs down one, with track ten's title, Ergot, getting incorporated into track eleven, "Relief."

rugget (February 27, 2008)

Good stuff

gritty (February 26, 2008)

Holy shit this band sucks! There are a lot of shitty bands out there, and these guys make them look good.

kevinh (February 26, 2008)

In my opinion Dead Mountain Mouth got a little messy at times, where the bands spastic tendencies tended to blow up a little too much and I could barely make out what I was listening to. This, though, I'm really digging. I like the direction they're going.

In regards to drum machines, back before Anaal Nathrakh had a drummer they still ripped the hell out of live shows. Insanely intense.

inagreendase (February 26, 2008)

I think having a drum machine really deadens this band's live show.

istapledmyfoot (February 26, 2008)

dead mountain mouth is fucking great, I look forward to this. this is one of the only bands w/ drum machines I can really get behind.

655321 (February 26, 2008)

Score is for the band name

aubin (February 26, 2008)

Didn't really like Dead Mountain Mouth as much as Cloak Of Love but this one is really a big step forward.

wearestillalive (February 26, 2008)

a seriously great band

danperrone (February 26, 2008)

worlds better than most other shit that comes out of this genre

usversusthem (February 26, 2008)

Really solid album in my humble opinion. I can't say I understand their music or why I like it, but I do nonetheless. Definitely worth the purchase.

Branden (February 26, 2008)

less blastbeats can only be a good thing.

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