Sunday, February 02, 2014

Geryon: Geryon (2013)

Death by Drum and Bass

At first I wasn’t sure what genre to call Geryon, but then I became convinced of one solid truth: 2013 was the best year for death metal in the last two decades.

I’m pretty sure there’s a law written down somewhere which obligates me to tell you Geryon is a two-man band comprised of the rhythm section from Krallice. Listening to it, I don’t find that fact to be particularly relevant. People tend to have very strong opinions on Krallice, but I don’t think those opinions will carry over to this band. It’s the weird guitar work that dictates public opinion on Krallice. Geryon, however, don’t have guitar.

If pressed, I could name a handful of metal bands that use only bass and drums, but they would all be in the sludge/doom phylum. The drum and bass take on death metal is worth your attention for novelty alone, but its quality will surprise you.

In Krallice, these guys are overshadowed by guitars which demand your attention. In Geryon, they have room to breathe, and they fill nearly all of it. Drums are ordinarily a backbone to death metal, necessary but little noticed. With skin flayed open, the impressive percussion is exposed for all. Death metal typically treats the bass with even more disdain, hiding it such that you’d never notice it unless it was missing. But here, it admirably fills the role of both guitar and bass, creating heavy riffs as well as high-register atonalities.

The approach is unique, and excellent. It could appeal to fans of Krallice, Ulcerate, or traditional death metal fans in equal measure. Most of all, it will appeal to fans of a well-constructed metal album, with a unified, coherent vision and zero filler. Buy this record. (Vinyl out on Gilead Media in March.)

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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