6. Redemption’s Way
7. Komm Süsser Tod, Komm Sel’ge
8. Rivers Dancing
9. Srikara Tel
What do you get when you take a bunch of progressive metal “superstars” and lock them in a room full of guitars and chapman sticks? If you guessed “Gordian Knot” then you’re a lot smarter than I look. A trend lately has been the search for the progressive supergroup. These efforts have usually put out one disc and that’s been the end of it. Some of them have been longer lived and others have just started.
One such “supergroup” is the assemblage known as Gordian Knot. Sean Malone of Cynic, Aghora and other efforts teams up with Sean Reinhart, Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink), Glenn Snelwar and John Myung (Dream Theater). Together they release Gordian Knot, an instrumental disc featuring some jazzy fusionesque expressive guitar playing. (Say that three times fast). It is a really good collection of expressive touch guitar playing.
I don’t know as it belongs in the progressive metal genre, but I’ll put it there for lack of another pigeon hole further to the left of progressive. Fans of guitar music that explores the versatility of the instrument and the expressiveness of it will enjoy this disc. Some of the tracks are flowing and airy, some are aggressive and driving. The solos are really intense and impassioned.
The liner notes represent the musicians with little symbol icons and then each track lists the order of the solos with those icons. If you enjoy technically proficient guitar, tightly composed free-form expressiveness and very expansive play, you’ll enjoy this disc.
Review by Matthew Braymiller
Review date: 09/2000
3. A Shaman's Whisper
4. Fischer's Gambit
5. Grace (live)
6. Some Brighter Thing
7. The Brook The Ocean
8. Singing Deep Mountain
Instrumental albums featuring a bevy of musical heavyweights are often a trying, difficult endeavor. On the standpoint of pure musicianship, the fellows who played on Gordian Knot's Emergent are by far some of the best in the world on their respective instruments. One can never question the talent that these folks possess. However, for the common music fan whose desire is simply to hear some good, solid music, Gordian Knot often disappoints.
Gordian Knot is led by one Sean Malone, the bassist extrordinaire best known from Cynic. He is a thoughtful, intelligent and highly talented musician who uses Gordian Knot to showcase his compositions. It must be an exquisite dream for him to play and record music with the likes of Steve Hackett (Genesis and more importantly, GTR), Bill Bruford (Yes and King Crimson), Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) and Sean Reinart (Death and Cynic, so maybe Mr. Reinart is more of a fun reunion). However, despite the fun that may have been the making of Emergent, the resulting album is a showy and often noodling, wandering affair that seems to focus more on leading up to solo sections rather than a fully engulfing composition. Often what I hear on Emergent sounds like something that would be playing at the dentist office in the background. It's incredibly polite and unobtrusive music that fails to turn one into a progressive instrumental fan. The mood of the album is often airy and light, but not done in a way that draws the listener in. Emergent falls into the category of Musicians Who Must Display Talent, which might appeal to other musicians but will leave the average listener out in the cold.
By album's end, Emergent becomes a bit of a chore and much of it goes by without making a major impact. One would wish for more stirring music, particularly since these musicians are incredible at what they do. Unfortunately, Emergent is precisely the kind of thing that gives us Anti-Wanker curmudgeons so much fuel for our cause.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 07/2003