Cynic: the American progressive pioneers return to earth with their long awaited second full length album ‘Kindly bent to free us’. This is the follow up and a natural continuation to their best selling album ‘Traced in Air’ (2008).
Cynic arrive and nothing has been left behind, with their delightfully complicated riffs, fusing jazz intricacy with the melodic complexity of progressive rock, they pour it all in to a pot of something that tastes so good, it will blow your mind! The alchemy of front man Paul Masvidal (vocals, guitars & keyboards) combined with rhythmaniac Sean Reinert (drums) and the technically divine Sean Malone (bass), make Cynic one of the finest Prog Rock bands to have ever of landed on Planet Earth.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I sometimes (often) use music to escape and not every band/album I own has the capability to do this. Some I tap my foot to, some I raise my fist to and there are many that get me so fired up I have to Rock out! But… Im talking abut escaping, letting your shoulders relax and be carried away to another place, another dimension, to that place that only me and the band know as… a journey.
Cynic for me are definitely one of them bands that can drive you to such a place. So let’s begin with track one, the short but harmoniously wonderful ‘Endlessly Bountiful’ caresses your ears and buckles your belt for the journey ahead. We are truly on our way with ‘Gitanjali’ which creeps in to your senses with an aching amalgamation of bliss & disturbance. Paul Masdival’s unusual but delightfully pitched voice is on full display on the third track ‘Holy Fallout’ which for me is one of the finest tracks the band have ever recorded. The tangled lyrics with blissful yet destructive musicianship sums up Cynic’s true demeanor.
‘Infinite Shapes’ takes things down a bit… but if you know Cynic, its not for too long. Cynic are a little bit like the British weather: ever heard the term ‘four seasons in one day’? There you go now we are getting somewhere!
‘Moon heart sun head’ makes you feel the open space of blissfulness with a lead guitar break that is so diverse…..Steve Howe (Yes) meets Stevie Vai, but how can that be, I realise I have just handed you a description that is hard to grasp but you’ll hear of no retraction from me. Believe me, when I say that since my journey has began, not once have I looked back. I’m totally intoxicated and look only to what’s ahead.
Forward I move as I hear the ‘Lion’s Roar’, the bass line on this track is reminiscent of early Geddy Lee of Rush (Hemispheres, 2112) with shades of the genius that is Chris Squire from Yes (Fragile, Close to the edge).
This epic journey comes to an end with ‘True Hallucination Speak’ and perhaps by this point (depending on your chosen poison or state of mind!) you just might be hearing & seeing your own. This album has in no doubt been sent to ‘Kindly Bent to Free Us’ and it certainly works for me.
In a word… incredible!