Gnostic
Engineering the Rule


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 27th, 2009 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With three current members of Atheist you might think you know what to expect, but this is still a surprise.

Atheist’s first two albums are considered by many to be classics within the technical death metal genre. They were more technical than their peers in Pestilence but also heavier and more aggressive than Cynic which allowed them to inhabit a niche that was largely unoccupied. A lot of the heavy and technical characteristics of those albums can be attributed to the raw, chaotic nature of Steve Flynn’s playing on the drums. Despite the historical significance of those albums, that doesn’t mean that Steve Flynn can just re-appear eighteen years later and just automatically be relevant again – thankfully he seems to realize this. His new band Gnostic (which also contains two other current members of Atheist) is an overwhelming exercise in technical metal that, once again, manages to occupy its own niche despite the abundance of other technical bands around.

While other technical metal bands seem to make a conscious effort to add the occasional melody or hint of actual song-structure, Gnostic does not. Instead, Gnostic are content to simply bludgeon the listener with constant shredding, death/thrash riffs, random bass-runs, and jazz-influenced percussion. In fact, the songs all seem to be built around Steve’s free-form style which allows them to progress in the most jarring and unpredictable of ways. This blatant disregard for structure combined with the frenzied assault of the rhythm section sometimes makes it seem like the band could spin out of control at any moment, but they manage to narrowly avoid that result. That doesn’t mean that they don’t straddle the line between technicality and chaos at all times, though.

The threat of pure anarchy is always present because Gnostic craft songs that serve one purpose – to batter the listener with equal parts technicality and heaviness with all else being irrelevant. This makes for an album that can be exhausting the first few times it is played; a reaction that doesn’t lessen until a certain familiarity is achieved. Dealing with the constant fluctuation between high-speed shredding and death/thrash riffs is hard enough, but it’s really the unpredictable nature of the rhythm section and the sudden stops that result in drum and bass interludes that push things to the edge. If there are those that aren’t already worn out by the music, the vocals are there to finish things off. The vocals come across like Jens Kidman (Meshuggah vocalist) if he had a sore throat. They’re delivered in a constantly raspy, hardcore shout that simply increases the aggressive nature of the music.

The description of the band’s music might make the old “style over substance” criticism come to mind, but they’re not really worried about style or substance. The band is only worried about creating an unrelenting and challenging metal album, and the surprising thing is that it works. While this does mean that there won’t be any songs that are memorable at the album’s conclusion, the enjoyment and challenge these songs present while they’re playing more than make up for it. This is technical metal for those that love challenging rhythms and heaviness and aren’t worried about little things like structure, direction, or purpose. The anger is directionless, the technicality is for technicality’s sake, and the aggression is constant but this is still one damn fine album.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I admit that this was rushed, but I'm behind on things this week.

Edit: http://www.myspace.com/gnosticmusic

There's also a song that can be played right here on the review. Look under the tracklist.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2009


17224 Comments


I want this so bad.

KYZAR
May 27th 2009


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds mildly sextacular

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, it's out on iTunes and Amazon mp3 stores and is definitely worth getting soon.

DBlitz
May 27th 2009


1690 Comments


Listened to it twice yesterday and it's pretty awesome. Some crazy drum and bass fills. I remember one song sounding a lot like an Atheist song.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I picked up on a few Atheist elements too, but this definitely isn't as refined as Atheist. On the other hand, since three members of this band are also in Atheist, it gives me hope that you combine their skills with Kelly Schafer's songwriting and we've got another classic album in just a few more months.

Also, the crazy drum and bass fills are some of the coolest things about this album.

Altmer
May 27th 2009


5652 Comments


i suppose i have to make another trip round the internet to find this

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i suppose i have to make another trip round the internet to find this
Yeah, I just did a search and it's easy to find already.

Anthracks
May 27th 2009


3770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome album

Digging: Radio Moscow - Magical Dirt

BallsToTheWall
May 27th 2009


44713 Comments


Good review. Not particuarlly too keen on Atheist although I am quite familiar with their bombass hometown. Might check this out but probaly when I get back from a semi vacation.

Digging: Reverend Bizarre - Return to the Rectory

myhigherpie
May 27th 2009


3027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweeeet I've been looking forward to this.

DBlitz
May 27th 2009


1690 Comments


Also, the crazy drum and bass fills are some of the coolest things about this album.

I agree

Jom
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2009


2688 Comments


It's a bit of a jarring listen, but it's still very, very good. Top-notch review.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 28th 2009


7926 Comments


skimmed the review, this sounds almost like it could be a successor to Piece of Time stylistically. How on base am I?

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not very on base at all. Piece of Time exercises a lot more self-control and the song structures are more defined. Piece of Time is also much less chaotic with the rhythms and speeds and it has defined melodies in places where as the Gnostic album has a defined melody at the beginning of one song only.

jingledeath
May 28th 2009


7104 Comments


Great review again Willie, will be getting this fur sure

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

just reminding people that there's a song posted for this album directly under the ratings bar graph - check it out if you haven't.

jingledeath
May 28th 2009


7104 Comments


wow that song is really good, downloading this pronto

Tyler
Emeritus
May 28th 2009


7926 Comments


songs on myspace were good vocals were not

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2009


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

songs on myspace were good vocals were not

He had more of a powerful hardcore shout on the demos but for some reason it changed to the more raspy delivery of the album at some point.



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