Geryon’s bassist/vocalist Nick McMaster and drummer Lev Weinstein are best known as the rhythm section of progressive metallers Krallice, but their creative relationship predates Krallice by several years. They first played together in the Chicago technical death metal band Astomatous, a promising but short-lived act that produced only one album before Weinstein and McMaster relocated to New York City, leaving the band’s guitarists behind and effectively ending the project. Or transforming it into Geryon, depending on how you look at it.
This linear connection to Astomatous, who were relatively conventional by DM standards, means that Geryon typically receive the “death metal” tag as well. But The Wound And The Bow, their second album, supports that association even less than their 2013 debut did. You can certainly hear some classic death metal hallmarks on “Silent Command” in the form of Weinstein’s dense rhythms and McMaster’s arid howl. But formally and tonally, this stuff is much stranger — all icy abstraction and austere melancholy. In the absence of guitars, McMaster’s bass has a great deal of space to work with, which he fills with a chiming, textured tone that couldn’t be further from the dry rattle most death metal bassists hide themselves in. (Being able to hear the bass guitar on a death metal record at all is pretty unusual in itself.) This striking tone heightens Geryon’s alienated and alienating atmosphere — McMaster reels off long sequences of shifting arpeggios, each seeming to circle its predecessor in search of an elusive root note, with Weinstein’s drums in hot pursuit. You could envision an extremely well-schooled and intense math rock band arriving at a similar sonic space, but it’s long odds that anyone besides this idiosyncratic duo would find their way here. Listen.
The Wound And The Bow will be out on 4/8 via Profound Lore Records.