Track Premiere: “Catacombs” by Geinus
Closing in on nearly twenty years of making music, Geinus are finally ready to drop their first proper LP record. The 8 song outing is a magnetizing heavy hitter entitled Keeper, and it comes to you on October 6th via Brokest Records.
Take a listen to “Catacombs” as our exclusive first listen to Geinus’s upcoming album:
You can throw around a lot of vague sub-genre terms when talking about Geinus. Noise rock, post-hardcore, experimental rock — whatever that is. Ultimately, all that jargon is meaningless with a band like this. Geinus have been honing their sound for so long that — to those of us who have been lucky to see their sporadic stints of live shows at bars in St. John’s over the years — Geinus are just Geinus. Their songs are typically brash and moody instrumentals with jagged and commanding riffs, sparsely placed dissonant use of vocal, and meticulous arrangements that can be as jarring as they are carefully crafted. But there is something seemingly indescribable about the air of this band. There is an atmosphere in the room when Geinus play, and it can suck the body heat and beer breath out of any venue, and pull all the eyes and ears to its menacing presence.
I’ve stood in many bars in this city in the early hours of the morning and watched diverse crowds at various stages of inebriation get completely spellbound by the music of Geinus. Some people walk away noting the masterful musicianship of their airtight jams and jaw-clenching riffs; those who are seeking the good times of a loud rock show walk away with sore necks and giddy smiles. But, in the most special of circumstances, I’ve seen people genuinely moved and affected by music played by bands like Geinus.
One of the last times I saw Geinus play, I watched a lone onlooker with glassy, bloodshot eyes leaning against the periphery of the room, and he was absolutely hypnotized by the band. He teetered in front of me for the entirety of the set, transitioning between head rocking and dizzied swaying. I have no idea if he came to the show intentionally, or if he was just a drunken stumble-through that just happened to stagger in on a seemingly altering experience.
When Geinus finished playing, the lone onlooker turned to me slack-jawed like he had something to say, but he didn’t make a sound. I politely nodded at him, and I turned to the exit to step out of the sauna for a smoke. The lone onlooker followed me to the door, and as I held it for him on the outside, he turned to me with raised eyebrows and said, “that was fucked.” He sort of contorted his hands as if he was playing guitar, and then walked to the curb and hailed a cab. “That was fucked” indeed, drunk guy.
I can still get a certain exhilaration from seeing someone who isn’t desensitized to unconventional, confrontational, or abrasive music and art, experience something that is so alien to them that it heightens their awareness to a degree that rarely occurs in our adult lives. When you’ve surrounded yourself with challenging music and art from a young age, you probably forget and take for granted those first impressionable moments. Sometimes those moments aren’t in your teenage years, and in the case of this lone onlooker at the Geinus show, that moment could have been in his late 30s.
It is experiences like these that defy nitpicking sub-genres and boring descriptive music lingo that writers like me beat to death on a regular basis. Geinus are Geinus, and they’ve been working that out for almost twenty years. That leaves me to ponder: how many similar experiences does a band like Geinus deliver over that extensive of a tenure in the St. John’s music scene? Big bands that sell tickets to big shows lose that kind of power by catering to a dedicated fan base who go to gigs knowing what to expect. It is the bands that play the bars and the art spaces that remain accessible to an unexpecting audience who may find themselves confronted by performances that land outside of their comfort zone. Challenging an audience can be good or bad, and either end is as vitally important.
The live guts of Geinus could prove difficult to capture in a studio setting, but Michelle Lacour nailed it at the production helm for Keeper.
After all these years of Geinus feeling like some sort of illusive hidden gem in the Newfoundland music scene, it feels really fucking good to finally be able to put a record on a turntable and share that sound that we would struggle to tell our friends about.
Whether you’ve seen Geinus or not, everyone in St. John’s will have the opportunity to catch them on the night of their official album release: October 6th at the Fat Cat, 10:30PM. Mark it on your calendars as it shouldn’t be missed.
Stay tuned for more track premieres and album teasers from Keeper in the coming weeks.
– Kris G. Hamlyn