There are plenty of bands that have a hard enough time making competent music with a full slate of members. It’s not easy out there, everyone. So you have to really admire those artists who don’t need a full array of fellow musicians in order to make really compelling art.
Take, for example, Geryon, who we’re discussing today since their new record “The Wound and the Bow” is just about on our doorsteps (or mailboxes if you were super cool and preordered this thing). This band, that relies on just bass, drums, and vocals, still manages to find ways to make twisting, bizarre death metal that you’d think would come off more bare bones than it does but instead sounds like a space lab of sound exploration. Their second album is one that, while it isn’t packed with various players coming at you with all sorts of musical elements, still can leave you baffled and with quite a bruising.
Of course, Geryon are in the mighty and capable hands of bassist/vocalist Nicholas McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein, both members of the unstoppable Krallice, as well as other bands such as Sallah, Bloody Panda, and Anicon. Much of what they play here registers most closely to what the two do together in Krallice, and they build off the foundation they built on their 2013 self-titled debut and push it even further into black weirdness.
“Silent Command” is the first track out of the gates, blistering and bubbling, with the deep roaring ripping out and into a space fury. The playing baffles and disorients, with rubbery bass snaking through the murk and a drubbing pounding leaving bruises. “Dawn” fires up viciously, with sinewy thrashing leading the way, and a thick stretch of chaos robbing you of oxygen. The vocals are grisly, and the aggressive play matches their intensity, leading toward a pulsating finish that bleeds into “Lys,” which unfurls with buzzing activity. The bass bubbles underneath the track, with slurry stretches in some spots, ruthless aggression in others. The melody gets a little over the top, which suits this song, and noise and sonic bangs carry out the track. “Skein” is shredded right away, with melodies playing tricks on your mind, the bass babbling, and the song trudging hard. Desperate cries rise and race into the night, with a haze of sound blowing in and sizzling away.
“Legion” runs a beefy 8:14, crushing from the start and carrying that fury into crushed drums and sleek basslines. The song staggers you, drubbing and rupturing blood vessels, as the pace rollicks heavily. Gruff, harsh wails pelt the skin, and just when the track seems ready to cool off, the pace explodes again, and the vicious growls sound like they’re threatening you personally. The title track also is disarming but also pretty strange, with the body of the song taking on more of a rock-style tempo, folding over itself again and again. Grim cries and another noise bath leads to the 9:38 finale “Dioscuri” that takes some time to get moving, instead letting the juices grow to a boil. It’s not long before they’re clobbering you, with a nice dose of weirdness to force you to tilt your head in confusion, and the band heading off on a long sojourn the flows seemingly endlessly. They round back to violence again before all’s said and done, with the guys sprawling and sludging before driving to an abrupt end.
Geryon have been blowing our minds for years now (did we mention their face-melting set at Gilead Fest 2014?), and they pile on even more trauma on “The Wound and the Bow.” The approach isn’t conventional, their style can twist faces into confusion, and they prove it doesn’t necessarily take an army of people to make mind-altering death metal. It just takes two musicians with the skill and tenacity of McMaster and Weinstein to blow away all of the fools and pretenders.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/geryondm
To buy the album, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/