Three years after the first GORDIAN KNOT album, the long-awaited "Emergent" finally gets released. Sean Malone has succeeded in getting another batch of top notch musicians, featuring Jim Matheos (FATES WARNING), Paul Masvidal (ex-CYNIC), Jason Gobel (ex-CYNIC), Sean Reinert (ex-AGHORA, ex-CYNIC), Bill Bruford (ex-KING CRIMSON, EARTHWORKS), and Steve Hackett (GENESIS).
Quite a plethora of musicians, I'd say. I'm sure some of you are drooling at the vast amount of talent, envisioning nothing but a 50 minute shredding solo with the most disgusting display of musical prowess. Some of you are skeptical, due to the above mentioned reason. And some are just interested to see what these fine young men can come up with when they put all their heads together and create something beautiful.
The last assumption is the most correct one. What Sean Malone has written the entire album by himself, but it does not mean that the rest of the musicians can be told off as session musicians. Each person breathes life into the instrument they play, making each song feel like a living breathing entity. It is almost a magical capability. The band succeeds in weaving guitar and bass lines that go in and out of each other, each playing a separate and haunting melody in of itself, yet complementing each other when played as a whole. Beautiful moods are creating using the various instruments present, each song taking you to a journey that is full of joy and sorrow, peace and a looming threat.
The solos are also to take note of on this album. Whereas 99% of Metal albums out there contain solos that are instantly recognized as, well, solos, the ones on this album are barely noticeable. They build up from the melodies of the song, enhancing the mood of the moment, subtly adding more layers to what you're currently listening to. You actually have to look in the booklet to realize when they're played! They're engraved far too deep in the music to stand out, but that's what makes them better.
There aren't any pretentious passages where a group of musicians are hell-bent on showing the world how well they can play their instruments. Each song is carefully crafted, executed perfectly and played with soul.
Get this if you're interested in expanding your musical boundaries. It's all instrument, and it's not exactly 'Metal', more like Heavy Jazz (I created a new genre! :-)). (Online April 12, 2003)