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GNOMONAUT

Heavy Prog • United States


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Gnomonaut biography
Patrick MARSHALL and Jeremy ADAMS's twin guitars lead the foundation of drummer/synthist Andy SNEDDEN and bassist Jeromy DOOYEMA in an instrumental space-prog quartet called GNOMONAUT from Atlanta,GA.

Their 2011 freshman release 'The Chronocosm' is described as "a loose conceptual narrative about the titular astronaut gnome's adventures through space and time, the album showcases the band's influences of KING CRIMSON, BLACK SABBATH, OZRIC TENTACLES, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, HAWKWIND and CLUTCH".

GNOMONAUT is a solid new heavyprog unit from the U.S. and is recommended to all post-Crimheads.

- Atavachron (David) -

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3.66 | 15 ratings
The Chronocosm
2011

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GNOMONAUT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Chronocosm by GNOMONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 15 ratings

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The Chronocosm
Gnomonaut Heavy Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Gnomonaut are an instrumental space rock band hailing from the United States, with music that pierces the stratosphere with the dark clouds of Black Sabbath that are lightly sprinkled over with the sun showers of King Crimson cascading down. The album "The Chronocosm" even pays tribute to the Crims with a glorious rendition of 'Red', that is closer than most cover versions you are likely to hear. The cover of Black Sabbath's 'The Wizard' is wonderful, even without those lyrics, that are replaced with a wah wah lead guitar effectively. The sax and brass sounds on this track gives it a jazzier feel, with its rock fusion of guitars meets brass, like souped up Mahavishnu Orchestra. The lead break screams with killer slashes and overall it is one of the great cover versions of the Sabbath gem. It fast became one of my favourites from the album with chilling riffs and heavy wah wah lead guitars.

Gnomonaut are reinventing these covers with their own unique brand of spacey Psych Prog. The intro of 'Red' is filtered with machine gun fire and bombs exploding providing a compelling backdrop and a fresh approach to the meaning of the song. A great deal of the tracks are open to interpretation due to the lack of vocals, though there are some sound effects to provide some semblance of a story that has something to do with an astronaut making his way around the universe and encountering the wonders of cosmic exploration. The album cover provides some clues but this is really astral music to soak the senses into; an aural explosion of interstellar ecstasy.

The album opens with the sounds of an astronaut preparing for a space walk and we hear the sounds of breathing reminding me instantly of the soundtrack of "2001: A Space Odyssey". The computer network noise is reminiscent of the opening of Ayreon's "Universal Migrator". The hypnotic breathing and white noise hiss draws one into the music and a disconcerting drone hums along like some absurd Middle Eastern gathering, a hum sounding like the darker side of Therion. The ambient textures of Pink Floydian synths and atmospheric chimes add to the ethereal mood. A spacey guitar enhances the musical imagery. One can picture the astronaut making his way out of the hatch and gliding slowly towards the stars. This is the delightful 'Bekajamir' clocking 7:50, and this one entrances with its encapsulating beauty and solid wah wah guitar punches. It is an absolutely mesmirising track that grew on me after a few listens to fast become one of my favourite Space Prog instrumentals. One is reminded of Ozric Tentacles, The Ovals or Hawkwind and yet Gnomonaut have their own distinct sound and style.

Next is 'Celestial Dirt Nap', driven by polyrhythmic guitar cadence, similar to Fripp's style. The guitar work of Jeremy Adams and Patrick Marshall are astonishing, with complex rhythmic figures and enhanced by the fractured metrical percussion of Andy Snedden and pulsating bassline embellishments of Jeromy Dooyema.

'Shipwrecked' moves along with wind howling and odd synth sequencer motifs by Snedden that lock in as a backdrop for more scintillating lead guitar swells. The techno beat is pronounced and a dark ambience falls over the soundscape with sustained guitar effects. The repetition of synth is a bit hard to withstand on repeated listens but this works as effective background music for all occasions. The music is hypnotic and has a compelling resonance throughout. There are some bizarre vocal intonations that are more unsettling than appropriate, and they go on for too long with unnecessary rasps.

'ManBearPig' opens with a guttural growl and then launches into spacey reverberations and psychedelic guitars. The rhythm is measured and this features funkadelic guitar riffs and some odd time sigs to throw off the listener in classic prog style. Synths break through and dominate later over the relentless asymmetrical riffs. The percussion is equally irregular and keeps the listener off balance, then a lead break is unleashed that is multi layered with another guitar break. The wall of sound is generated to create a blazing sound, and there are 70s throwback retro guitars on this wondrous track.

'Beard Mudding' has an unusual title and the music is as weird, with an off kilter time sig that splashes all over the place speeding up at will, and yet with all the complexity this is a tight sound and well performed. The tempo becomes increasingly complex with extra beats thrown in and bewildering shifts in meter with guitars and extreme spaced out effects. This is one of the highlights of the album undoubtedly. Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine' springs to mind with King Crimson rhythms spliced in and a smattering of Pink Floyd lead breaks.

'Gnomonaut' opens with grinding raspy guitar rhythms and soaring lead guitar bricks cemented over the top. Dooyema's bassline is dynamic punctuated by Snedden's drum patterns. The time sig is syncopated with a grandiose guitar figure. The lead breaks are a powerhouse of guitar dexterity from Marshall and Adams, again showcasing the virtuoso skills of the band.

'The Chronocosm' is a lengthy 9:23 track, permeated by steady rhythms and heart pounding extended lead breaks. There is a soft cadence at times generating a relaxing atmosphere. The beauty of the guitars have a tranquilising effect, and yet at times the music builds to towering heights with complex metrical patterns. This is another of the highlights on the album and has King Crimson written all over it as polyrhythms and jamming guitars dominate. The ending reminds me of the dark weirdness of Gary Numan, with its industrial sounds and disconcerting backwards percussion. The 2 cover versions have been mentioned already but again I must say these tracks are simply amazing and icing on an already well presented cake; and should prove to be pleasing to any fan of the Crims or Sabbath.

Overall, "The Chronocosm" is an inspired album laced with psychedelia and spaced up rock to the max. It does not suffer with the absence of lyrics as the music is so dynamic and complex. It is as good if not better than Ozric Tentacles or other instrumentally based space rockers. Some of the tracks on this album are absolutely mesmirising such as the opening track, 'Beard Mudding', the title track and the 2 covers. Had the rest of the album been this powerful this album could have well been a masterpiece of prog. As it stands the album is certainly an achievement in instrumental prowess. Each member is at the top of their game and it would be of interest to hear more from this band in the future. I hope a forthcoming album would come as Gnomonaut have created an album of incredible intensity; brimming over with innovation and some of the best space prog on the planet.

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 The Chronocosm by GNOMONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 15 ratings

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The Chronocosm
Gnomonaut Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gnomonaut is a young heavy prog band from USA with one album in their pockets so far, released this year 2011 and named The Chronocosm. I was very pleasent surprised by this album, it contains everything a heavy prog must have. The band is clarly influenced by bands like King Crimson, Rush , Black Sabbath and bands from psychedelic/space realm but meltedwith their own twists, the result is a pretty great one in every sense of the word. What I like is that Gnomonaut manage to take all the influences from the artists they love and turned into one unit, pieces like Bekajamir or ManBearPig among others are excellent examples of how Gnomonaut understands music these days. Heavy guitars but yet melodic combined with some great psychedelic space moments, makes from this The chronocosm a real winner in present prog music. Great musicianship on every piece, with plenty of good ideas and serious talent shown. Two covers ended the album the fantastic Red of famous King Crimson, great in this context and even greater the Black Sabbath Wizard, simply amazing with flute and sax interluded with the rest of the instruments. Also I like a lot the spoken voice of the old man between the pieces, the old man who apear on the excellent cover art, funy and intristing in same time. So , a recommended album, 4 stars easy , fans of heavy prog and bands mentioned above will love this album, as I deed.

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 The Chronocosm by GNOMONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 15 ratings

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The Chronocosm
Gnomonaut Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'The Chronocosm' - Gnomonaut (6/10)

It sounds like what the album cover looks like.

If a long bearded gnome in an astronaut suit standing in what I could only describe as some sort of shroom-induced mindscape is any indicator, the listener is going to be taken on a pretty spacey trip with Gnomonaut, an instrumental rock act that has released, this, their debut record recently without any help from distributors. Described as a semi-narrative conceptual piece about a gnome in a space suit roaming amongst time and space, the band lets us know exactly what to look out for, and as far as 'The Chronocosm' goes, I have not been disappointed. While nothing that this debut album offers particularly dazzles me, Gnomonaut's convincing blend of psychedelia and heavy riff rock makes a great soundtrack for any aspiring spacial traveler.

The band's stated influences say alot about where their various elements come from. Their sound is the fusion of heavy riffs inspired by Clutch or even Black Sabbath, while the more spacey aspect seems ripped straight from the goofy tendrils of Ozric Tentacles. Overall, this is not a bad combination of sounds at all, although the genre of 'stoner rock' is one that bases itself entirely around this, so I cannot say that Gnomonaut's sound is entirely fresh. For what it is however, Gnomonaut does succeed at creating a rocking journey that keeps changing. Although the music here is instrumental (save for some garbled gnomespeak spotted around the more ambient moments), there is a story being told here. The heavy moments imply some sort of action or astronomical event, while the lighter sections seem to be more of an introspection into the mind of our titular hero. In any case, the listener is left to fill in the gaps of the story; Gnononaut have only laid down the narrative framework. If a listener approaches it from this angle, it can lead to a fairly engaging experience beyond the music itself.

In terms of the actual music here, it ranges from mediocre to rather great. The riffs themselves here are a little simplistic and to-the-point for my tastes, and while the energy and grit gets across just nicely, there is often little depth to the heavy rock sparing the interplay between guitars and bass. 'Shipwrecked' and the title track 'The Chronocosm' are the two big standouts for me. 'Shipwrecked' is a far cry from the rock riffs and bluesy sound, and instead leans towards a trippy piece of space electronic, with the dialogue of a somewhat existential gnome pondering his lonely existence. It drags on for a little too long, but the eerieness gets across, and it is some nice ear candy, especially for those with a nice stereo system. 'The Chronocosm' is the epic defacto closer to his album, and takes the guitars one step further by adding some clean licks that work wonderfully, and an effective build to the song that unfortunately does not conclude in a particularly satisfying way. Throughout the album, there are a few added surprises, including some non-rock instrumentation that adds a King Crimson-esque strangeness to some parts that I really like.

After the main album has concluded, there are still two covers that Gnomonaut have kindly included for us; one being King Crimson's 'Red', and the other Black Sabbath's 'The Wizard'. 'Red' is a fairly functional replica of the original, even emulating many of the guitar tones that Fripp used on the original. It does not have enough to this new version to make it much interesting however. 'The Wizard' is another story altogether; taking an originally harmonica- driven track and fusing it with saxophones and lead guitar to fill in for the vocals, this is a lovely rendition of the original Sabbath track that closes out 'The Chronocosm' quite nicely.

I cannot say that 'The Chronocosm' is excellent, as it feels a little bland around the edges, There is some good music and a very fun atmosphere to the album however, and although there are certainly more vibrant albums in the style, Gnomonaut give a mostly satisfying experience with their debut.

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 The Chronocosm by GNOMONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 15 ratings

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The Chronocosm
Gnomonaut Heavy Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars They are Gnomonaut!

It is always a pleasure to review albums from new bands, acts that want to add their grain of sand to the already enormous progressive rock scene, and they are always welcome. Gnomonaut is a band from USA (based in Atlanta) that is entering to the realm with the release of their debut album entitled "The Chronocosm". It comprises nine songs, seven original ones and two covers, which all together make a 58-minute album.

Progressive rock is a wide genre, which can also be divided in several sub-genres. The music of Gnomonaut has a great mixture of some of them, including the evident space-rock sound, eclectic prog and in moments some experimental prog. Important to say that they are an instrumental band, so fasten your seat-belts and prepare to this journey.

The album kicks off with "Bekajamir", a seven-minute track that perfectly works as an introductory song, I mean, here we can appreciate what Gnomonaut's sound is about: great guitars, cool drums and spacey synthesizers all over the song. It reminds me of Ozric Tentacles and Hidria Spacefolk. In the second track entitled "Celestial Dirt Nap" we can now figure out that King Crimson may have been one of their biggest influences, no matter the space-rock oriented tracks, we can listen to that eclectic KC sound here. Besides the great guitar work, worth mentioning is that they added some winds, such as trumpet and saxophone, so it is an additional spice to the already delicious music.

"Shipwrecked" has that spacey sound, linked to what we would call progressive electronic, this time reminding me a bit of Tangerine Dream. The track is a bit long and a two-nail weapon, because you can either feel bored after some minutes, or feel hypnotized; I choose the latter. This track has some spoken word at the last two minutes. "ManBearPig" has a rockier feeling, a faster and more aggressive introduction that suddenly slows down and creates a weird atmosphere, but seconds later it restarts and the structure is being built until it completely arises. The guitar sound is wonderful, skillful and pleasant, great bass lines, drums are always constant making the rhythm, and keyboards adding its exquisite textures. Just before the fourth minute there is a guitar solo, which one can easily enjoy.

"Beard Mudding" shows once again their Crimsonian sound (important to say that they are not a rip-off band, not at all) which is a pleasure to my ears. Both, the lead and the rhythm guitars are always fantastic, creating a wonderful language and interplaying with the other instruments. "Gnomonaut" (the track) sounds actually as the continuation of the previous song. Here we can fully appreciate the musicians' skills and technique, I particularly love the bass sound in this track, I believe it stands from the other ones, no matter the great guitar solos that came after minute four.

"The Chronocosm" is the longest track here, a nine-minute epic that sums up Gnomonaut's ambitions. It starts with a clockwise sound which little by little runs faster, while a chaotic atmosphere is created by keyboards. This continues for a minute until it explodes, guitars, bass and drums appear and a brand new track is being elaborated. For moments Rush came to my head, in special some 2112 or Hemispheres passages. After four minutes a nice guitar solo appears and takes us to another dimension. I love the tranquility shared in some moments, it is peaceful; but what I like more is how they managed to change the mood without harming the music, because after that tranquility we are led to a tense ambient. The last minute is a weird electronic sound.

With that song, we may say that the album and the Gnomonaut's original compositions end. But the album itself continues with a couple of covers: King Crimson's "Red" and Black Sabbath's "The Wizard", both are well performed, but I prefer the latter due to the exquisite addition of wind instruments. OK, with these two songs The Chronocosm is finished. A great debut by this US band that may please fans of space rock and eclectic prog. My finalgrade will be four stars!

Enjoy it!

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Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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