Photos By Paul Oostergo
It was quite the surprise when progressive metal band Cynic pulled into Vancouver and performed their first album, 1993’s Focus, in its entirety to start the show. The album is a landmark recording for death metal fans, as it uniquely combines metal and jazz fusion together successfully. Anyone who has heard the album would have been excited to hear all eight original tracks performed.
The small, but energetic crowd gathered at Venue found the energy to start a mosh pit and get things going during some of the tracks from Focus. All of the music has death metal influences to it, in keeping with the band’s origins, but they were also heavily infused with more progressive, almost jazz and fusion sounds and guitar licks. Lead guitarist Tymon Kruidenier and lead vocalist Paul Masvidal traded growls like pros.
In keeping with the tour’s name, Re-Traced and Re-Focused, the band soon broke into tracks from Traced and it’s re-released version Re-Traced, after a short acoustic interlude from Masvidal. Their newer music leans more towards the progressive metal and jazz / fusion infusion side, with vestiges of their death metal roots definitely on display at times in the lead guitar, bass and drums. There were more than a few times where one could compare them (somewhat favourably) to some of Pink Floyd’s earlier, more experimental and “airy, atmospheric” sounding work. Not that they sounded like Floyd, but the music brings images of Floyd’s work, specifically “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive” from the first album “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” from 1967.
The band ended the show with Cosmos from an unreleased EP that they made a limited pressing of 500 copies and were selling at the show. There was no encore, but the band went out to great applause and cheers, and they took the time to shake hands with fans at the front of the stage on the way out.
Hold back the Cynicism, because this Cynic is changing the way we listen to death metal.