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Evol

Genghis Tron, Left Hand of God, Shat, and Destructo Swarmbots, Talking Head, Jan. 16

Jefferson Jackson Steele
NEXT GEN: (from top) Shat and Genghis Tron look forward ass-backwards.

By Seb Roberts | Posted 1/19/2005

By the time the Left Hand of God closed the evening with a no-wave mudslide, the Talking Head audience had witnessed enough artful aberration to suspect this wasn’t just another night of fanciful experimentation. New forms were taking shape. Musical DNA was being spliced and stitched into muscular Frankenstein monsters that, with a little luck, would go on to obliterate whole villages.

One thread bound this bill together: volume, which openers Destructo Swarmbots delivered in spades. The Queens, N.Y., duo, veiled in dim lighting, unfurled a 20-minute tide of digital drones and feedback. Echoing guitar cascaded over sinews of static, throbbing like the pulse of a zombie army. The effect was that of a full blast of Merzbow at half-speed—unsettling and bowel-loosening, but not exactly moving or even terribly interesting. Even the deliriously handy guitar work was drowned by delay pedals, which churned out an assembly line of squeals, skronks, and farts.

The only thing mechanical about Shat was the efficiency with which it pumped out minute-long shots of guilty pleasure. The room fell silent at the sight of four portly, near-nude men clambering onstage. Three were in baby diapers and Halloween masks, while vocalist Jeff Wood went pantsless and sported a strap-on dildo mohawk. What followed was a half-hour barrage of vintage ’80s metal, complete with Rob Halford-class caterwauling. The songs (“Tit Fuck,” “Gonorrhea Fountain,” “Kill Baby,” etc.) were so stridently profane that Shat beats Tenacious D at its own game: Shat is everything values voters find threatening, all packaged in mercifully brief 90-second songs.

And nothing loosens up even the most jaded hipster like a man festooned in dildos. Touring behind its 2005 debut EP, Cloak of Love (Crucial Blast), the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., trio Genghis Tron came to Baltimore from the doldrums of three successive canceled shows, but there was not a cobweb on the band as it launched into the crushing march of “Rock Candy.” Frontman Mookie Singerman convulsed as though his vocal chords would fray at any moment. Michael Sochynsky hunched over his keyboard, shooting furtive glances at guitarist Hamilton Jordan, who was clearly lost in the rock.

Hard up for new inspiration since the Dillinger Escape Plan calculated infinity, metalcore has finally been pulled to a new level by Genghis Tron. Barely a year into its existence, the band has managed to rope together blastcore and Richard D. James’ eerie ambiance with body-moving club beats. Songs like “Arms” graft Squarepusher-style breakbeats to flurries of finger-tapped guitar. There’s even a potential hit in the infinitely danceable New Order-vs.-Ministry mash-up “Laser Bitch.”

It wasn’t a sold-out crowd at the Talking Head, but those there bore witness to something special. After all, as Tony Wilson pointed out, there were only 12 people present at the Last Supper. Time will tell how wide a wake Genghis Tron leaves.

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