Review Summary: Death metal with just drums and bass which suffers from an identity crisis.
It's been difficult to not notice the current trend of bands consisting of just bass and drums, most notably Royal Blood with their recent success. When taken at face value, the sound of these bands often doesn't come across as outlandish in any sense but it's only upon realisation that the lead instrument is bass that this unique make up suffers from an identity crisis. Whether or not the idea was intended to make a 2 man project sound like a 3 or 4 man project is debatable but it's easy to say that there isn't anything inherently special or unique in making a bass guitar sound almost identical to a normal guitar. Then comes in Geryon, hailing from New York, bringing in a more lateral approach to this idea: death metal.
The mere mention of making death metal with such bare instruments is seemingly absurd, yet I find that Geryon quell any thoughts of initial doubt instantaneously. 'De Profundis'
, the opening track, is a microcosm of the band and EP. Aggressively thumping drum patterns drive the track forward whilst warm and round bass tones add a much needed support to the guttural vocals. The atmosphere created almost lends itself to sludge metal in similar vein to Gorguts, yet remarkably does so with just two band members. 'Lament'
takes the ideas found in the first track a step further by being more manic, chaotic and disorientating in a 2 minute long cacophony and it's particularly refreshing to note that meticulous detail has gone into how well the drum patterns compliment the bass tones. Furthermore, each track incorporates a brief outro, normally quite sombre and bleak and does a subtle job to break up the EP. Geryon, however, are not infallible. The closer of the EP, 'To Be Silenced'
, is drawn out much longer than necessary and feels redundant in the grand scheme of things; the same can be said for the rest of the EP but it's most prominent within this track. Also, the band's sound just appears to be far too similar to Gorguts in every sense possible, which isn't completely a poor aspect but they don't quite live up to their role models' superior songwriting capabilities. The only quality that truly discriminates them from Gorguts is the fact that the band don't use a guitar, which will only really have an effect on the listener if they choose it to. That's not to take anything away from Geryon though and the EP is an impressively solid introduction to everything the band has to offer overall. However, it has to be said that the line is sadly drawn there and then; it's impressive but nothing more.