Geryon - The Wound and the Bow CoverBy now, you’ll have learned about/salivated over the prospect of Gorguts‘ new EP, Pleiades’ Dust, which looms on my horizon like a shining oasis of pretense. If you’re unlucky enough not to have the privileges of an AMG staffer and still have to wait to listen to it, then boy do I have good news for you. The Obscuran prog death trend is still picking up steam and kicking up dust, now most pertinently in the form of New York two-piece Geryon. The side project of Krallice‘s Nicholas McMaster and Lev Weinstein, Geryon are a band I’ve overlooked, but The Wound and the Bow struck me immediately.

Geryon elevate the bass even further than Gorguts or Beyond Creation, bringing it not just to the front of the mix, but to the front of the band; guitarists be damned, this duo makes death metal without them. “Silent Command” quickly establishes what kind of album The Wound and the Bow wants to be. Through its jagged Krallice-isms and Lemay-esque buried shrieks, it dispels any anticipation of transparency, weaving distorted bass riffs in upon themselves through busy drumming, it’s unapproachable and abstract as they come, yet the band restrain themselves to relatively few riffs, instead delivering subtle variation in between repetitions. While it’s technically impressive, the song’s tedious repetition of its final riff makes for a somewhat tiring listen. The following song, “Dawn,” uses the same formula, but works much better due to its more straightforward heft and brevity.

But heft and brevity are scarce resources for travelers through The Wound and the Bow. These songs might have the prerequisites for technical death metal, but they lack the energy; sauntering at mid-pace and bereft of the drama and kineticism that listeners crave. While there’s no question as to the skill of the duo or the quality of bandmate and exemplary producer Colin Marston’s rendition, the material is severely lacking in emotion and attachment. Perhaps that’s the point – after all, Obscura is a far cry from the gory theater of Cattle Decapitation or the operatic pretensions of Fleshgod Apocalypse – but there’s a certain dreariness to this record that other detached avant-garde groups usually avoid. Even the jarring ending of the title track fails to truly impact the album, seeming like a gimmick.

Geryon band 2016

“Dioscuri,” is a last-minute turn for the better, and its spacious midsection is the album’s best feature, melodic and foreboding. It’s here that Weinstein puts out his most tasteful and interesting drum performance, which unfortunately casts the rest of the album in shadow. I’m not very fond of Weinstein’s drumming style in particular, and The Wound and the Bow sees him in familiar territory, switching between one blast beat and another for the most part. Coupled with the requisite lack of polyphony in a two piece like this, and you have a pretty sparse record, sonically. Marston’s production is excellent, but half a band is never going to hit as hard as a whole band, especially when their writing is this cerebral.

Ultimately, The Wound and the Bow‘s failure is being too caught up in itself and its idol to make truly memorable music. Ulcerate‘s Everything Is Fire catalyzed interest in dissonant and experimental death metal, but it’s important to note that the album was anything but derivative, playing as much off of Immolation and Isis as off of Lemay & Co. Geryon play too close to their inspiration, and their sprawling compositions lack the immediacy of even some of their most outre counterparts such as Ad Nauseam and Baring Teeth. As art-house death metal grows towards greater saturation, it’s becoming easier to separate innovation from nostalgia, and despite Geryon‘s idiosyncratic arrangement, The Wound and the Bow fares rather poorly in the former.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Profound Lore Records
Websites: facebook.com/geryon
Releases Worldwide: April 8th, 2016

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  • Bart the Repairman

    Waiting for the new Gorguts EP is hard and this project doesn’t make it easier. If they don’t like guitarists, at least they could bring some keyboards in… It doesn’t sound like a band, more like a rythm section separated from something else.

    • Name’s Dalton

      I dunno. I rather enjoy what they’re doing. But then, I like bands like Big Business and godheadsilo, so guitarless duos are right in my wheelhouse.

      • Kronos

        Twin Lords are pretty good as well.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Yes they are. And who could forget Lightning Bolt? Well, I did. I forgot to intially mention them, but you get the drift.

    • PabloEsko

      they arent supposed to sound like a band. as you can see the artwork, the music can be visualized as loading data on a computer. thats their approach. avant-garde and irregular

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I read Andy’s post on NCS about seeing Gorguts live in Manchester. They played the EP in its entirety. Lucky man!

  • Martin Knap

    The track needs a long bass solo.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Anyone ripping their hair out waiting for Gorguts should check out Nightmarer’s Chasm EP. Not sure if it’s released yet but I know for certain one track is available on YouTube and damn does it scratch an itch.

    Fantastic review, Kronos. While I’m not against this huge wave of dissonance-based tech death (it’s probably my favourite style of metal currently), I just hope personal identity isn’t left behind completely.

    • Tom Hardy

      I actually pre-ordered the record for the color that’s currently sold out.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Ahead of the game dude! Really excited for it’s release. The track that’s already out is absolute gold.

        • Tom Hardy

          Are you speaking of Ceremony of something? The second track sold me.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            Yup, Ceremony of Control. It is the second track. Very excited to see how the band evolves

          • Name’s Dalton

            Pre-ordered that as wel, plus bought the t-shirt. Went in whole-hog based on two songs!

  • Tom Hardy

    Big fan of the band and love their debut. This fortunately sounds just as good and I disagree with a couple of things in the review. They’re a hit or miss with people I’ve talked to which’s natural given they aren’t a traditional sounding outfit with the lack of a guitarist. But that’s also what sets them apart from the rest of the pack – unique build ups and hypnotically good.

    Do you have a hard time with sludge Kronos? Just curious because you mention repetition unfavorably.

    • Kronos

      Not usually, although I don’t listen to it often.

      • Tom Hardy

        Fair enough mate. How does this album compare to the debut?

        • Kronos

          Haven’t spent time with the debut; this review had a very quick turnaround because of a few scheduling issues.

    • PabloEsko

      to be honest, this review underrates the band af. i dont listen to prog dm not even experimental dm but i fucking love this album from beginnning to the end. the debut wasnt this catchy at all! i suppose the author hasnt listened enough..

      • Tom Hardy

        I hear ya, if you read the trail of conversation there’s admittance to not knowing the debut enough or spending time on this album for its review.

        • PabloEsko

          whats the fucking point of the review if the author doesnt even spend the time for the album and throws a random rating? fuck this web

          • Tom Hardy

            Good ol @disqus_4Qkf5DrzPz:disqus can help you answer that mate.

  • Berit Dogg

    It’s really cool that they printed the cover on a Wettex swab! Maybe I should get the physical release for once.

    • PabloEsko

      wtf is wettex swab? not even google knows the answer lol

      • Berit Dogg

        A kind of kitchen cleaning cloth. Not the kind of word you are likely to pick up from death metal lyrics and science fiction novels, so I don’t know what they’re really called… Norwegian “academic stoner rockers” Black Debbath have a song about kitchen hygiene though; Byt kjokkenklut oftere, is their advice.

  • Reese Burns

    It’s a crying shame about this album. I love the concept behind it, but if what you say is true, then I can’t really see myself enjoying it at all.

    • PabloEsko

      its not true at all. be the judge yourself and get lost in the album.