Genghis Tron's Michael Sochynsky: 5 Great Ambient Drone Albums for Metalheads | Revolver

Genghis Tron's Michael Sochynsky: 5 Great Ambient Drone Albums for Metalheads

Swirling "time travel" music, 1960s proto-rave soundtracks and more
ghengis_tron_cover_image_michael-trevor-naud-web-crop.jpg, Trevor Naud
photograph by Trevor Naud

Revolver has teamed with Genghis Tron on an exclusive vinyl variant of their new album, Dream Weapon. It sold out in less than 24 hours, but you can get more exclusive vinyl via our store.

On March 26th, extreme-metal innovators Genghis Tron will release their new and third record Dream Weapon — a genre-bending banger that was 13 years in the making.

The crew first rose to prominence in the mid-Aughts thanks to their head-spinning blend of extreme metal and electronic music, epitomized on their 2008 critically acclaimed sophomore record Board Up the House. Then, in 2010, just when Genghis Tron were at their peak, they decided to take a brief break — which turned into a decade-plus hiatus.

The guys went their separate ways, focusing on family and careers — until an informal hang between founding keyboardist Michael Sochynsky and guitarist Hamilton Jordan turned into an unexpected creative session. The reconnection reignited their passion for the project and paved the way for Genghis Tron's new chapter of riff-filled, synth-fueled songs, which sees the band (also featuring new vocalist Tony Wolski and drummer Nick Yacyshyn) pushing into what Sochynsky describes as a "more meditative, hypnotic, and maybe psychedelic" territory.

In that spirit, we asked Sochynsky to weigh in with his picks of the essential drone and ambient albums that every metalhead should have in their collection.

Coil - Time Machines (1998)

I think I was 16 or 17 the first time I heard this record. I remember coming home from high school, putting this on my shitty Aiwa stereo, lying on my bed, and just getting lost in the swirling, pulsating drones.  Among other things, Time Machines proves that you don't need time machines to time travel. This record is also great because it sounds so different from pretty much everything else Coil did.

Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline (2007)

This is just a really beautiful record. The simplicity and repetition of the melodic motifs. The deep swells. The exploration of reverb and natural, empty space. Stars of the Lid have a knack for bringing all those elements together to create environments that are elegant and perfectly poignant.   

Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood And the Phantom Band "All Night Flight" Vol. 1 (1968)

This is one of those records that immediately makes you ask: how was this made? What instruments am I hearing? Is this a synth, or something else? Although Terry Riley is probably best known as a minimalist composer, in my mind, he'll always be the guy who invented raves.  In the late Sixties, he would hold "all night flight" events where he'd play this amazingly psychedelic drone music until the sun came up, using saxophones, organs, tape loops and other effects. This is a live recording of one of those events, and it makes you feel like you are going insane in the best possible way. 

Pauline Anna Strom - Trans-Millenia Music (1982-1988)

I had never heard of Pauline Anna Strom until this re-issue compilation of her music from the 1980s came out a few years ago. Thank god for re-issue labels! She created these wonderfully dark and beautiful synth soundscapes that still sound incredibly futuristic over 30 years later.  The song "Spatial Spectre," in particular, is just fucking awesome. If you want to listen to "new age" music and not feel bad about it, this is the record. 

Earth - Earth 2 (1993)

No list of drone albums for metalheads would complete without Earth 2, right? I didn't discover this record until the late 2000s, but I love imagining some poor soul who bought this record in 1993 because they liked Nirvana and saw that Sub Pop put this out. Drone metal!