Have Cynic just discovered magic mushrooms? It certainly sounds like it. With strong metaphysical themes resonating through the calm and thought-provoking tracks, it seems they have put the death metal portion of the phrase “technical death metal” on the shelf and picked up a new style that we could safely describe as “technical space rock.”

Now, this is not to say that Kindly Bent to Free Us is a bad album, but it may just appeal to a different demographic than the band previously did. Cynic could never be lacking in the talent department, though — they are simply too damn good.

How you will feel about this album depends on which parts of their work you enjoy. The energetic bass still rips though the music with a voice that is impossible to ignore. Sean Reinert continues to confuse us with his bizarre drum style and constant change of pace. However, the guitar portion seems to have fallen back into the shadows, allowing the illusion that everything is melding together into a simpler tone when really there is a lot going on.

As for the vocals, they are more consistently raw than usual, beautiful even. Midway through “Moon Heart, Sun Head,” they become ghostly, the music reaches its climax and you realize that you have joined them on a journey without even knowing it.

Calm, collective and full of spiritual undertones, it’s easy to agree with Paul Masvidal that he has “learned to live more in the perceived rather than the conceived.” The album finishes with the music carrying on the message at the place where the lyrics left off, trailing out into an atmospheric lullaby.

Death metal connoisseurs, this is nowhere near what you are expecting. But to you and anyone else, it wouldn’t hurt to give Kindly Bent to Free Us a listen to get a little insight into Cynic’s complex mind patterns, and in turn allow them to glide into yours.

By Ashlyn Lefebvre

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