Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cynic Live

It has been a long held metallic ambition of mine, since I first discovered the band in 1993, to see these technical death metal legends in a live setting and finally I can say it's done! Actually I had always wanted to see the tech death triumvirate of Death, Atheist and Cynic and having seen Death in 95, I have finally managed to complete the triangle this year with having seen both Atheist and now Cynic.

Now was it worth the wait? Well hell yeah it was but with some minor reservations. The band has now moved on a little from the Focus era. The comeback album was good but not fantastic for my taste and the new EP is almost a complete departure. It seems Masvidal and co now want to be Eclectic dreamy prog metal and the metal word you have to use very loosely indeed. I guess they've grown old and their intellectual leanings have driven them further and further away from metal.

A little about the support band, Chimp Spanner. An English instrumental djent band to give them their due no less.. The lead guitarist spoke with a very posh English accent and was very polite which sort of pandered to my particular prejudice that djent is played by A-grade students from university who don't really actually like metal.

Any way Chimp Spanner played monstrously heavy syncopated djent with thunderous thudding and mind numbing riffs in the typical djent fashion. They also had some decent atmospheric arrangements interspersed with those mammoth riffs. Some people seemed to love them and others seemed to be tortured by the crushing noise coming from the speakers judging by their faces. I had my plugs in thankfully otherwise my ears would have been fucked and even with the plugs I could feel my ribcage rattling. Chimp Spanner were ok but not something I will ever listen to by choice. These guys are probably a metal musos dream, with constant guitar changes from 6 to 7 and even 8 string guitars for the boring tech freaks to wank over. I managed to get a few ok photos of Chimp Spanner but I could barely get close due to the rather packed crowd when Cynic were on and the back lighting didn't help me and I barely got a usable shot from Cynic.

Finally the Floridian legends took to the stage in their relaxed manner. I think it helps them no end that the second guitarist is able to do the growled lines whilst Masvidal does the cleans and improvises the computer voice. His voice is actually quite pleasant in all though can be a bit whiny. The set list was drawn more heavily from the newer material. However it was the Focus material which went down the best of course. Personally I wanted to hear all of Focus but I knew that wasn't going to happen though only three Focus tunes were played overall. A real shame indeed. However the Traced in Air tunes sounded much better and punchier live than I recalled from the album.

The sound was completely amazing with plugs on. The bass was crystal clear and both guitars played the multi-layered lines on the songs to perfection. God damn the band sounded tight and played with almost very little effort whilst the material was obviously beyond complex in reality. This made the stage spectacle very cool to watch although the drum location to one side made it impossible to see the drummer. However when concentrating on the sound the band created it was almost like putting on the albums on a big fuck-off speaker. Some would say this is not what they want from a gig and they want it to be personal however in the case of Cynic I want to marvel at their ability to recreate the records to the minute detail and this they did with seemingly precious little trouble. Really amazing to watch and hear to be honest.

I am not sure Cynic really want to be associated with metal any more, but they are still a very cool relaxed live act with wonderful effortless musicianship which will blow you away every time. Worth going to the gigs for that if nothing else.

  1. Encore:

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