Gnostic - _Splinters of Change_
by: T. DePalma (3.5 out of 5)
Only a year ago in one of those common, yet, as history reminds, potentially fateful scenarios, Sonny Carson and Stephen Morley answered an ad seeking musicians in the Atlanta area, where both had toiled for some years in several germinal and varying metal outfits. Uncommonly, this particular invitation was put out by Steve Flynn, former drummer of (need it be said?) the breakthrough death metal group Atheist. After a few initial practice sessions that clicked and further recruiting from the stateside populace, Gnostic comes to form with five tracks being produced, as luck would have it, by Kelly Schaefer himself.

With that, you might have already formed a general idea as to what Gnostic's sound consists of, probably being right on the same point. Though not entirely predictable, the group achieves a tight performance of progressive metal with a touch of more commercial aspects. Here's the checklist: wirey leads stretched out with the occasional legato, pinched onto taut metallic rhythm; undulating bass, seed of Geddy Lee, brewing aside the methodical fusion of Flynn's kit. Vocalist Kevin Freeman empties himself over this technical orgy, echoing both Pantera and Schaefer's own memorably pitched gnarl, albeit some keys below; the whole clinic captured in pristine sound. But even as Gnostic assumes the manner of their idols, in styling things so close to Flynn's former troupe they fall short with little chance thereafter.

For the most part, this is the outcome when any group of extremely capable musicians set up to jam -- technically they mesmerize. But those seeking a continuation of or something nearer to Atheist's complete musical imperative will either have to be patient with this excitedly skillful band or else search elsewhere.


(article published 29/1/2006)

1/29/2006 J Smit 5 Gnostic - Hatewar 666
5/27/2004 Q Kalis 7.5 Gnostic - Evoking the Demon
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