Cynic - Kindly Bent to Free Us

I don’t know about you, but Cynic‘s 2008 record Traced in Air is one of my favorite records of the decade. I love Focus and think it’s one of the best records in the history of technical and progressive metal. However, I have previously expressed some skepticism as to the motives of this band. While the Re-Traced EP was an experimental take on the Traced in Air tracks and worked really, really well, I was less enthused with the band’s Carbon Based Lifeforms EP. During that one, I expressed some sentiments that have been floating around the underground in terms of quoting an acquaintance of mine:

This EP has grown on me, but I want to remind everyone that this is not like Traced in Air or Focus at all. The metal is basically not here and it’s way more similar to the band members other projects (Æon Spoke and Gordian Knot). And as I was thinking about that fact, I was reminded of a discussion I had with a guy about the Re-Traced EP. What he said was this:

“I think [Re-Traced] is probably a cash-in by a band that, most likely, doesn’t give a fuck about death metal [or metal most likely] and cannot wait to take the Cynic money and record more incredibly boring Gordian Knot records without having to worry about sales, and Exivious can get back together and people will care this time, for their records will include ‘former members of Cynic‘ stickers on them.”

One wonders if maybe the strategy isn’t, instead, to blend these other projects under the Cynic name for the notoriety that the band has and a loyal fanbase that will just buy anything because it’s got the name Cynic on it. From this standpoint, this comment seems less bitchy than I initially reacted to it and more insightful.

Given that Exivious got back together and people care this time, I continue to come back to this. This can be witnessed in my recent Facebook status update “Anyone else notice the careful wording of the new Cynic press-release? “Legendary progressive rock innovators CYNIC.” That, sirs and madams, is a sign that this coming record will definitely not be metal.”

Still—as I mentioned in my CBL EP review—I like a lot of the stuff that Cynic does. And while I want busy drums and heavy, technical riffs, I was hoping they’d succeed. And I’m happy as hell to hear this song, which I like quite a bit. It just dropped today and is called “The Lion’s Roar.” Even though this isn’t exactly what I want from the band, it is pleasing to ye olde angry metal ears.

  • Accoun

    “Even though this isn’t exactly what I want from the band, it is pleasing to ye olde angry metal ears.”

    Hard to disagree. They are going in a kinda different direction than most of their fans want, but their music is still pretty good (with this track, at least after one time. Further listening tomorrow, since it’s 3 AM).

    Also dunno, but sounds a bit… less jazzy/fusion-y that what I remembered from their previous albums…

  • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

    I honestly think Masvidal and Reinert had no intention of going back to heavy music, even when they brought “Cynic” back. It seems like they used “Traced In Air” as a gateway between “Focus” and the softer rock they’d been making anyways as Aeon Spoke. Now they can keep making puss rock, but everyone will think it’s real progressive because it says Cynic on the cover.

    • Barry Neilson

      completely agree. Doesn’t stop me from liking it, but i’m pretty sure we’re not going to be getting anything at all in the realms of ‘heavy’ from Cynic in the future. Not sure if they’ll surpass Traced in Air for me.

    • Does make me think, then, that they were being way too strategic, which makes me want to not like them, then.

      • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

        How very Cynical of them…

          • Name’s Dalton

            So, what is your take on Kindly Bent to Free Us?

            “The Lion’s Roar” could be a Chavez song from Ride the Fader if they had a Yes fixation. I like it. A lot.

            And I’ve never heard a lick of Focus – yet. First song is ever heard by Cynic was 7 minutes ago when I listened to “True Hallucination Speak,” which I also liked. A lot.

          • I really didn’t like Kindly Bent to Free Us. I found it to be tepid and boring.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Yeah, well, so’s your chili dip.

            I listened to it once and found it rather interesting, but definitely not metal. Which is fine. I didn’t grow up on metal. But I will grow old with it.


  • MeatWolf

    A friend said it’s alt. rock now and well… to me, it sounds like it is true.

  • Steve

    Very good point(s), I think we can all agree from the recent output from these guys they don’t care about metal and are using the Cynic name as a cover to push their other influences. That said it’s a good song, if a bit weird mix-wise…. as long as you’re not expecting tech-death and approach with an open mind you’ll be fine

  • Luis Minutti

    :( Sounds like shit

  • Blake Turner

    Dear Cynic: No more lyrics videos. I love you but your lyrics suck and drawing attention to them is a terrible idea.