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Global Domination | Demo reviews | Cynic: Demo 1990

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Cynic: Demo 1990

07/01/11  ||  Habakuk

We all know Cynic as the oftentimes hyped, super-spaced out progressive semi-death metal band that released “Focus” and got back with “Traced in air” recently – while “Focus” is indeed a must-hear, this fact is mostly owed to the musical prowess on display and the overall “out-there”-ness of the whole affair with those strange ethereal robot vocals and everything, you know the drill. Still, Cynic have always been put into the death metal corner no questions asked, questionable debut album or not. The reason for that lies in their earlier days, where they released some quite stellar demos. Weirdly enough, this one here actually received a Scott Burns/Morrisound production, was released on a label and so forth – so technically, we’re probably speaking EP more than demo here, but the name says otherwise.

Anyway: This is unquestionably actual death metal here. Technical, groovy, catchy, with unprocessed vocals. Thrash roots. Awesome musicianship on all fronts, I mean, just check out the band members… Musically, think Nocturnus without the keyboards, Death, “Testimony”-era Pestilence, hints of Coroner, you know – those late 80s/early 90s bands pushing the genre boundaries but keeping their balls intact in the process.

The three songs are driven by thick, chunky riffs and double-barreled short melodic guitar intermezzos, the bass serves the band instead of straying into progression heaven, and Sean Reinert’s drumming probably needs no explanation: the guy is tight as all hell and has proven so on countless releases throughout the genre. His playing definitely gives some parts on this demo a serious Death-vibe, which is never bad, as you will agree. Cynic wandered a very enjoyable middle ground between all those bands mentioned, and their idea of adding a shitload of weirdness later on in their career is kind of mindboggling, given the quality and coherence of this earlier material. They still had a huge impact, which tells you that these guys certainly had something going for them. This here is for the more death-oriented listener of theirs, and the demo after this one holds a few songs off “Focus” with “normal” death metal vocals, too – you might want to check that out as well.

Oh, I’ve jumped too far ahead. I wanted to say “Check this out, if you agree that ‘Focus’ could have been sooo much better”.


  • Information
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Epidemic Records
  • Website:
  • Band
  • Paul Masvidal: vocals, guitars
  • Jason Gobel: guitars
  • Tony Choy: bass
  • Sean Reinert: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Lifeless irony
  • 02. Thinking being
  • 03. Cruel gentility