January 9, 2014

Geryon - Geryon

Written by Matt Hinch.

Geryon bassist/vocalist Nick McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein are best known for their work as the rhythm section for Krallice. But in Geryon they are the only members. That's correct. This project is a bass and drum only musical connection. While being touted as death metal, their self-titled release is tied to the conventions of genre by the thinnest of threads, namely Weinstein's incessant percussion and McMaster's forceful roar loaded with the intent to stun. The bulk of Geryon then is left to wild experimentalism and atonality.

Nothing is straightforward as chaos in its many forms reigns supreme. Shades of malice rise and fall, curling around thick and skronky bass lines. At times everything sounds at odds with everything else, as if two (or more) forces desperately attempt to follow their own circuitous paths yet find themselves pulled together if only momentarily. It's as if some powerful entity is continually smashing together malleable forms of sound like neutrons in the LHC and interpreting the results like a twisted auditory Rorschach test.

One feels the need to continually look over their shoulder as a deep background and off-kilter timing keep the listener off balance creating a feeling of dread and paranoia. McMaster spins those webs of deceit while Weinstein's percussion keeps the mind rooting in the present, preventing the tendency to drift off to places unknown.

The bass growls like a beast while the pull-offs poke and provoke, sending the consciousness into headlong flight. Wide-eyed and with reckless abandon, the listener is chased towards the abyss, pushed over the edge by waves of crashing malevolence. Thrashed and broken, falling to unfathomable depths into an obsidian pool. Sinking deeper and deeper inward, space and time are warped around quasi-theoretical frequencies until being swallowed by Geryon's vast vision, decadently rich in darkness.

Geryon is demented and misdirecting, tossing the listener around effortlessly, lifting and dropping, squeezing and releasing. Dark flames burn slow and hot, leaving you scarred and gasping for breath yet unable to pull away. Fall into the chasm and let Geryon's wings carry you.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. I didn't really "get" this one the first listen, but your review is convincing me I should give it another spin.

    1. It's alien death metal. Not very inviting, but with a strange beauty.

  2. So far I'm liking the interplay, being at odds is a good explanation of what's going on here. Not sure this is the kind of thing I would come back to often though.

    Anyone have thoughts on how he got that bass tone? It's hard to figure out where all the clarity and distortion are both coming from at just the right times.

    1. Yeah, Geryon is for when I need something that it is really out there.

  3. Hello, thank you for the kind and perceptive review! Max got a hold of me asking if I'd like to respond to the question about the bass tone, so sure. I hope you don't mind it being a little long, but there's kind of two questions here-- how did I get the bass tone, and where does clarity come in at just the right moments (thank you, by the way).

    The basic setup is that I'm splitting my signal to three different amps corresponding to bass, middle and treble. The bass was a traynor head set for basically all low-end through an Eden 410 cabinet and with a light distortion from a Morely Distortion/Volume pedal. The middle was a 5150 head through an orange cabinet and is on I believe the 'crunch' setting, ie not the heavily distorted sound that most metal guitarists would use (which would be the "lead" setting). There's more distortion here than on the bass but it's still kind of like a roughness around the edges-- the amp is mainly pushing rich, clear mid frequency, which I find gives harmonic clarity. The treble amp is a 70's fender twin with a Boss Metal Zone, which means it's totally distorted as hell and has all the bass frequencies removed. That's where the crazy kind of lazery sound comes from.

    The basic tracks you're hearing are me playing the riffs twice through that setup with the two performances hard panned into the left and right channel (the way many, if not most, metal guitar recordings are done)

    So with that setup, the nice thing is that even just live, the amps will sort of predominate when a part that suits their register is played-- ie the bass amp is a lot louder when there's a really low part being played. So a fair amount of clarity can be achieved without any studio stuff at all.

    However, this being a record, there is studio manipulation-- for one, at times the levels of the three amps are adjusted because having one or two of them louder suits the part better than the standard ratio. And lastly, the thing I think you're responding to specifically in terms of clarity is that, at certain times, I played a given section a third time with a different tone. Those overdubs are usually center-panned over the two stereo tracks to add emphasis where I wanted it. The tone that I use more than any other for this third overdub was the Fender Twin again, but this time not distorted and with the amp's built-in reverb. That setup in particular I used when I wanted a layer of clear, atmospheric sound for a given section.


  4. Wow, Nick! That was a very cool explanation. And it gives me an equipment list to shop for. Haha
    I'm glad you liked the review. I was very impressed by the album.