Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us - Album Review

Cynic - Kindly Bent to Free Us

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 14/2/2014
Label : Season of Mist

Kindly Bent Us Free, album track listing :

1. True Hallucination Speak
2. The Lion’s Roar
3. Kindly Bent to Free Us
4. Infinite Shapes
5. Moon Heart Sun Head
6. Gitanjali
7. Holy Fallout
8. Endlessly Bountiful
9. Earth Is My Witness (Deluxe CD Book exclusive bonus track)

Bio :

CYNIC finally return with their long awaited second full length since their 2007 reunion. "Kindly Bent to Free Us" is at the same time a natural continuation of best-selling album "Traced in Air" (2008) as well as a collection of new ideas incorporating new elements distilled from their musical experiments conducted on the two EPs "Re-Traced" (2010) and "Carbon-Based Anatomy" (2011). Instead of simply repeating their successful formula, CYNIC dare to expand their horizon into even more complex soundscapes that demand careful and intense study before revealing their full astonishing beauty. All the trademarks that gained the American progressive pioneers their cult status are still there: forward-thinking riffing fused with the rhythmical intricacy of Jazz and the melodic complexity of Progressive Rock.

The alchemy of front man Paul Masvidal and rhythmaniacs Sean Reinert and Sean Malone should equally appeal to CYNIC enthusiasts as well as connoisseurs of PORCUPINE TREE, OPETH, THE PINEAPPLE THIEF, KATATONIA, and ULVER. CYNIC was formed in 1987 during the burgeoning rise of Death Metal in Miami, Florida before relocating to Los Angeles, California. The impressive technical abilities of the band's founding members even led to Paul and Sean Reinert being recruited by Chuck Schuldiner of DEATH and led to the inception of the 1991 landmark album "Human". With their first full-length "Focus" (1993) CYNIC created another milestone of Progressive Metal, but disbanded the next year to explore different musical paths. Now these genre leaders offer you "Kindly Bent to Free Us". Listen well

The Band :

Paul Masvidal | Vocals, guitars, Keyboards
Sean Reinert | Drums
Sean Malone | Bass, Stick
Review :

Prog bands have always been the outsiders. They are the ones who make patience-testing, drawn out songs which incorporate elements of everything and anything into their sound, veer off into obscure timings and refuse to adhere to anyone’s musical rules bar their own.

Formed in Florida in 1987, Cynic’s tale is no different. In their early days, they were surrounded by a blossoming tidal wave of death metal bands that had turned the sunny coastal state a deathly shade of black. A band with lighter, more progressive tendencies like Cynic didn’t fit the mould, hence their relocation to Los Angeles.

From their they built a cult following and, since their reunion in 2007, after 13 years working on other projects, they returned a more refined and slicker machine, resulting in their biggest selling album to date in 2008’s Traced In Air.

A further 6 years down the line and the expectancy for something special is justifiably huge and, while Kindly Bent Us Free may not blow your balls off, there are plenty of great moments to wrap your ears around.

Namely, The Lions Roar, a punchy song, driven by a Rush inspired riffs which pack both progressive aesthetics (meandering bass, vocals that float about in the atmosphere and diminished chords aplenty) as well as a lofty, catchy chorus.

Infinite Shapes meanwhile is armed with Opeth fashioned octave riffs and Porcupine Tree clean-cut guitars. It’s a song that typifies the band’s eye for dynamic eccentricity as driven passages weave in and out of those clean guitars, while the whole thing is wrapped in another memorable chorus.

There is however, a distinct lack of a melodic centrepiece on other tracks. As good as they are, with their oceanic soundscapes and trippy dual harmonies, some songs just seem to come and go. Yet, when those big choruses come along, they seem to bite that little harder as if to make up for their previous omission.

Gitanjali is a fine example of this. For the guitarists out there, its riffs and solo deserve great admiration, but yet again it’s the chorus that leaves the biggest mark.

Bassist Sean Malone is particularly impressive on the record. His jazz infused bass lines work in both holding a rock sold rhythm as well as flying all over the place, dictated by their player’s technical Excellency. Locking snugly into Sean Reiner’s equally as disjointed rhythms, they allow guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal to lead you to far off worlds with resonate chord progressions and velvet smooth vocal lines that keep on rising into the ether.

And that is where you’re left as the album draws to a close; lost somewhere between planet earth and zero gravity – this is a record that transports you away from the doom and gloom of everyday life and for that alone, it is well worth a listen.

Words by : Phil Weller

You can buy it here

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