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Gordian Knot - Gordian Knot CD (album) cover


Gordian Knot


Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 169 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Important metal/fusion gateway

Sub-genre:Experimental/Post Metal (Some metal, but leaning towards eclectic fusion with international flavor) *Reclassified Eclectic Prog in 2020
For Fans of: Canvas Solaris
Vocal Style:None
Guitar Style: Varying styles both acoustic and electric. Metal guitars present on roughly half the album, but not the dominant force.
Keyboard Style:None
Percussion Style:Standard rock kit with the addition of tabla and bells
Bass Style:Primarily come from the low end of Malone's Chapman stick.
Other Instruments:Chapman Stick and Warr guitar
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you are expecting the metal elements of this album to be as aggressive as that of Malone's work with Cynic

Summary: The landscape of Metal/Fusion would be very different without the creations of Sean Malone. His best known work prior to Gordion Knot was with Cynic and his Jazz/Fusion solo album Cortlandt. Both are highly important in his evolution, Cynic's Focus being equally so within its own Extreme Metal genre. There are those that may claim that what we see with Gordion Knot is more of Malone just providing his own personal resume of styles and a showcase of ability to "play well with others" rather than solid compositional body that facilitated further metamorphosis of the Metal/Fusion landscape. Clearly the latter is the more true of this exclusively instrumental project. This is a body of work that continued metal's push away from convention.
Gordion Knot comes with a Progressive Rock/Metal all-star cast that includes Trey Gunn, Ron Jarzombeck, former Cynic mate Sean Reinert and even a guest appearance from John Myung. Each player brings trademark stylings to the table with Trey Gunn adding some of his mixing/engineering skill. The chefs provide a menu that is both contrasting and balanced. The distorted guitars do not dominate the palette. Percussion is rugged but tasteful. Songs built with a primarily metal motif are tempered with mellow sections that allow for digestion of the complete piece. Several songs are textured with strong eastern influence that includes use of Indian percussion. The songs Redemption's Way and Srikara Tal are highly reminiscent of Shakti, the former being an ensemble of 3 tap style instruments with weaving counterpoint. The albums closer is Malone's coup de grace solo stick piece Grace, which reminds strongly of the solo guitar work of Michael Hedges and his bass counterpart Michael Manring.

Final Score: This is a project that noses right up against perfection but may not be for all. Sometimes contrast is lost in trying not to offend. The metal side in me really wanted to hear the metal grind out a little harder. But the door to opposing styles is thrust open for many that would not otherwise open it. This is more about international fusion with metal than jazz/metal fusion. As the years have passed, this album has solidified its place as one of the most important albums in my collection.

Tapfret | 5/5 |


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