You all will agree that certain albums will reach the desired effect only by matching with quite a few factors that influence the whole listening experience. At first, I wasn’t really sure what to think about the brand new installment by Cynic. Will this record finally divide the band’s fans to two groups is not my point of interest; the fact is that Kindly Bent to Free Us is different in many ways. I understand that this album kind of represents a creative renewal for the band and shift towards more experimental, but warmer sound.
Kindly Bent to Free Us is an album that is significantly melodic and layered, with myriad of intricate elements building its spine. The album is recorded in a power trio format, with Paul Masvidal on guitar and vocals, Sean Reinert on drums and Sean Malone on bass. Although the bass has always played a huge role in Cynic, the lack of second guitar on Kindly Bent to Free Us opened up space for Malone completely. His presence in the mix is far more audible comparing to Traced in Air, providing more control and influence over the sound.
Numberless rhythm changes and melody switches doesn’t reflect on the technical side of the album to a greater extent, but rather showcase its development towards more advanced shapes. On the other side, Masvidal‘s synthetic vocals are shaded behind the instrumental work – his singing relies on melody rather than power.
Speaking of one’s expectations that preceded the release of the Traced in Air successor, Cynic has never been predictive. Therefore this record will, in one way or another, be a surprise for many. Multilayered as it is, Kindly Bent to Free Us is a slow grower. This album is not a cynical laugh, but rather a good representative of what Cynic in 2014 sound like.
01. True Hallucination Speak
02. The Lion’s Roar
03. Kindly Bent to Free Us
04. Infinite Shapes
05. Moon Heart Sun Head
07. Holly Fallout
08. Endlessly Bountiful
* Paul Masvidal – vocals, guitar
* Sean Reinert – drums
* Sean Malone – bass