Me, I am a terrible CYNIC - yet, Winter Olympic Games seem to bring out something positive as well. So before you “leap (before you look)” over here/Metal Hammer Germany, here/Metal Hammer Greece, here/Prog Magazine UK or here/Rock Hard Italy to enjoy the new CYNIC album (somewhat sarcastically called) ‘Kindly Bent To Free Us’ in its cosmic-riddles-alien-transmissions-tasty-riffs totality, let us first check the latest medal count: Germany suddenly leads with five gold medals, Norway is second with four gold medals and no less than twelve in total, Canada is third, Netherlands fourth, Switzerland fifth, the mighty United States and Russian Federation sixth and seventh respectively, then (what-is-going-on-with-the-new-BELPHEGOR-album) Austria is 8th and, finally, tiny Slovenia to whom I congratulate on their first-ever Olympic gold medal – 9th. Now let us continue with the serious business that is CYNIC's third full-length album: ‘Kindly Bent To Free Us’ will be released on February the 14th, 2014 in Europe and on February the 18th in North America through Season Of Mist. Guitarist and vocalist Paul Masvidal, drummer Sean Reinert and bassist Sean Malone recorded and produced the album at Perfect Sound Studios in Los Angeles; it was engineered by Jason Donaghy, mixed by R. Walt Vincent and mastered by Maor Appelbaum. The album's art was created by late American artist Robert Venosa. So, “have [CYNIC] finally gotten lost deep up their own asses” or “they’re still plotting to get things in motion eventually, having everything coalesce in the end in a way you never thought possible. (Dare I say, they’re not entirely unlike Larry David in that regard.)” to borrow Sammy O'Hagar's words (who, btw, believes “while it may not be as iconic as their first two albums, ‘Kindly Bent To Free Us’ is nothing less than the band maintaining their excellent status quo” – more here/MetalSucks)? To ascertain, do listen to the record filled with some delightful statements such as: “True hallucination speak/inhale/you better get a friend to help you” or “Animals are something invented by plants/to move seeds around/An extremely Yang solution”, and then order the album available as digipack CD, as limited edition collector's box, as limited edition double LPs in various colours, and digitally here (Season Of Mist e-shop), on iTunes or from BandCamp here.
Formed in 1987 in Miami, Florida by vocalist and guitarist Paul Masvidal, guitarist Jason Gobel, bassist Mark Van Erp, and drummer Sean Reinert, CYNIC began recording their first demos after bassist Tony Choy joined the band. In 1991, as the band went on temporary hiatus, Masvidal and Reinert performed on DEATH's ‘Human’ album and Choy joined ATHEIST. In 1992, CYNIC reunited with new bassist Sean Malone and signed with Roadrunner Records; the band's ground-breaking debut full-length album ‘Focus’ “meshed metal and jazz on an unprecedented scale, and explored the creative possibilities of this strange musical hybrid to a degree which has yet to be equaled” (Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here). Citing musical and personal differences, CYNIC disbanded again in 1994. Most members turned to side projects: Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert and Jason Gobel formed the short-lived project PORTAL together with bassist Chris Kringel and vocalist Aruna Abrams. Season Of Mist released the PORTAL demos as ‘Portal Tapes’ on CD and vinyl in 2012:
Reunited again in 2007, CYNIC's second LP, 2008's ‘Traced In The Air’, featured newcomer Tymon Kruidenier who replaced guitarist Jason Gobel:
“Ultimately, the album does CYNIC's legacy justice precisely because it challenges the listener to comprehend, by opening more doors than it closes and posing more questions than obvious answers - and what could be more “progressive” than that?,” [had asked/answered Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMuisc – more here:]
Next, CYNIC explored “sci-fi prog folk” (which is “part psychedelic rock, part minimalist restraint”) on 2010's ‘Re-Traced’ EP, and journeyed from the Amazon jungle (“on the lips of a shamanic wise-woman as portrayed by Amy Correia”) to outer space (“on the luminous wings of songwriter and guitarist Paul Masvidal's electric guitar”) on 2011's EP ‘Carbon-Based Anatomy”:
“In spite of its rather grotesque cover art, this six-song suite hardly ever roams into recognizably “metallic” terrain, but instead coasts along dreamily on ethereal sounds more typical of new age or ambient music. At their most aggressive, ‘Box Up My Bones’, ‘Elves Beam Out’ (say what?), and the title track partake in patches of hyperactive drumming, minor-chord guitar figures, and fluid solos, but never will they ignite anything resembling a mosh pit. There’s also no sign of either Paul Masvidal's processed vocoder or coarse death metal vocals of yore, leaving his newfound shy croon fully exposed to the elements, nude and fragile, yet compatible, nonetheless, with its new surroundings. So too are the variety of female voices provided by one Amy Correia on ‘Carbon-Based Anatomy’s remaining three cuts, which largely serve as connective tissue between the proper tunes cited above; hear her ululating like an aspiring Asha Bhosle [Indian singer/Bollywood] on ‘Amidst The Coals’ and ‘Bija!’ (the latter rich in atmospheric tabla), then coolly narrating esoteric mish-mash on the closing ‘Hieroglyph’,” [commented Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMuisc – more here:]
CYNIC features: Paul Masvidal – vocals and guitar, Sean Reinert - drums, percussion and keyboards, Sean Malone - bass (album), Amy Correia - vocals (album) and Max Phelps - guitar and vocals (live), Brandon Giffin - bass (live)