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Cynic: The portal tapes

03/05/12  ||  Smalley

It’s a new year, but we’re already back where we left off; in my review of “Carbon-based anatomy”, I already lamented how Cynic’s only given us 2 full-lengths since ’87, and how ever since ’08’s Traced in air, they’ve been teasing us with drips and drabs, like a mostly dull EP of re-records, a decent new EP that still didn’t give us a long enough peek at a tantalizing new direction, and now “The portal tapes”, a previously-unreleased demo from by a short-lived band named Portal (who only recorded this one demo), a band that just happened to have some “Focus”-era Cynic members in it (minus Sean Malone and plus Jason Gobel/Aurna Abrams on female vox). So this isn’t even a real Cynic release, so don’t come into expecting too much of the same style…

…or even the same quality; I mean, you do get to hear the mystical, hippy-dippy, new-age side of Cynic, complete with heavy emphasis on feathery, toothless female singing, but it also comes without any of the energy, death metal-y balls, or robot vocals that Cynic has (had?) as well. The paranoid android vox I can easily take or leave, but without any of the greater intensity or heaviness of real Cynic, “The portal tapes” just meanders. Sure, its echoing atmosphere is pretty, er… pretty to listen to, but in terms of actual engagement or entertainment value? Not so much. Wishy-washy hippie ethics might be fun to trip out with (musically or for real), but when it comes to making metal, it ain’t so good. At least the instrumental chops are still as good as ever.

6/10: Give us the 3rd fucken full-length already!!!