CYNIC has evolved in their sound from album to album. It is continually apparent with their latest release, Kindly Bent to Free Us. The moments of death metal and screaming vocals heard on Focus and Traced in Air are nowhere to be found. The progressive brainchild of Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, CYNIC put on an 8 track display of their unique sound.
This album travels through experimental, metal, and jazz infused passages without a single transition feeling out of place. The guitars truly stand out on this album, as well as previous CYNIC releases. Many different guitar effects weave throughout the landscape of the LP creating textures and layers of what is a beautifully written collection of music. A little known fact about myself: I really enjoy guitar driven jazz. This album perfectly marries the things I love about progressive rock with that guitar driven jazz. With CYNIC’S signature experimental twists, you end up with a very unique listen; not only when looking at other progressive albums, but even just within the CYNIC catalog.
“True Hallucination Speak” sets the tone of the album. Textures among textures, strung through peaks and valleys of varied tempos and intensity. “The Lion’s Roar” reminds me of what would be the end result if CYNIC was given the task to write a “poppy” or “catchy” song. Not a teeny bopper type song, but rather a song that may appeal to most people’s tastes. But overall, it’s very pretty sounding and has a memorable and uplifting chorus; not only in the lyrics, but in the guitars as well. “Kindly Bent to Free Us” showcases one of my favorite jazz moments in the album, approximately at the halfway point in the track, and feels very Traced in Air-esque. “Infinite Shapes” is one of the more metal songs on the album. It seems to have the weirdest experimental moments in the record as well. And it melts together oh so perfectly.
“Moon Heart Sun Head” kicks off the second half of the LP, and has two fantastic guitar solos/interludes around the middle of the song that are separated by a moment of near silence and clean singing by Paul Masvidal. When each of those parts kicks in, it really creates peaks and valleys within the song, of which I am a huge fan (as mentioned above). “Gitanjali” delivers what I feel is the most metal song on the album. The distorted guitars, melodies, and chord phrasings create a gorgeous, while sometimes slightly dissonant passage. It’s a very glowing track on this album for me. “Holy Fallout” brings more jazz fused progressive goodness and a dazzling guitar solo. “Endlessly Bountiful” closes the album in a quiet fashion, in what I would say is the prettiest tune on the record. Starting with a simple, low volume guitar and Paul’s vocals, it crescendos to a choir-like level of vocals with more guitars and instruments added. Then it drops off completely, leaving a single guitar to carry you to the end of this gorgeous record. CYNIC’S Kindly Bent to Free Us will be released through Season of Mist on February 18th, 2014. ~ETB
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Kindly Bent to Free Us” and “Gitanjali”
WRITTEN BY ERIC THE BULL