Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us

cynicAlways ahead of their time and seemingly quite comfortable in angering the status quo, Cynic have returned once again with a vibrant musical statement to challenge and perplex not only their fanbase, but also the wallflowers that just can’t make up their mind whether to fully embrace or reject this band.

Where the Carbon-Based Anatomy EP threw many followers for a loop with bold non metal experiments, Kindly Bent to Free Us is a step back in line so to speak and works for me as the sensible follow-up to Traced in Air. This album strikes me as the sexual bi-product of Dream Theater and Moving Pictures Era Rush for the technical side of their sound is there swimming below the surface, partially enveloped by gentle structures and the fragile falsetto/strangely voiced/pitched vocals of guitarist Paul Masvidal. His vocal performance seems to be the main bone of contention for many folks out there, but I’ve come to appreciate his effeminate phrasing/style as it is one of the defining characteristics of the Cynic sound. Sean Malone’s bass work on this album is downright scary and the main reason why I mention Moving Pictures. His tone is dry and right up front in the mix, allowing every complicated note run and flamboyant flair to really help push this material into the “great” category. His playing is amazing, but like the rest of the band, he never takes it too far over the top. You can tell he’s a huge Geddy Lee fan. Kindly Bent to Free Us takes on even more of a prog attack as the album progresses and demonstrates the tightrope this band so effortlessly walks between enlightened/patient musical atmospheres and the biting metallic edge that cuts through and really brings songs like the title track to a cacophonous climax, only for Cynic to so skillfully strip away the tension as if to cleanse away your troubles in the bubbling pool found in a faceless California health spa.

Yes… Cynic in 2014 strike me as very urban in sound and caught up in the hectic limelight of Southern Florida, but have sought to distance themselves from this and have achieved a spiritual release/awakening with their music. Fair enough. Whatever the means this band arrives at the music they make, I have always found them to be interesting and an at times a much needed step into a more complex/composed/polished world different from the cavernous underground oppression I typically find myself dwelling within. Even though there are definite highs an the occasional low point on this album (Gitanjali loses the spark and had me looking at my watch towards the end of it), Kindly Bent to Free Us is another worthy progression in their ever colorful legacy. A grower for sure. -Marty
Season of Mist

~ by martyworm on February 12, 2014.

2 Responses to “Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us”

  1. this. is. fucking. amazing.

  2. Right up your alley Jay!! It’s good to see you sniffing around!

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