Life upon discovery: Cynic’s “Kindly Bent To Free Us”

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On last week’s episode of the Metal Sucks Podcast, Chuck and Godless talked with Paul Masvidal, guitarist/vocalist/co-mastermind of the band Cynic. Cynic has a new album coming out on February 14th, Kindly Bent To Free Us. The title track – which is awesome! – is presented in a lyric video at the top of this post (the track is also played at the end of their interview).

I had heard of Masvidal before – he played on Death’s 1991 album Human, and toured in support of it – but for some reason I had never taken the time to seek out any of Cynic’s music. That was an error on my part.

However, thanks to Chuck and Godless playing “Kindly Bent To Free Us” on the podcast, I am no longer oblivious. And I’m extremely happy, because I now have a new, genre-defying album to look forward to. And beyond that, there’s the rest of their catalog (yes!).

I like listening to the interviews on the podcast. A lot of listeners have negative things to say on the weekly podcast notes at Metal Sucks, but I don’t mind the hosts. For the most part, their conversations with musicians are entertaining and enlightening. The interview with Paul Masvidal made that episode a highlight of the series thus far, as he spoke quite a bit about his personal philosophy, the work he does in service to others, his “day job” writing and recording music for TV (and so on), and some of his thought processes with respect to his band and music. The interview was one of the longest they’ve done, stretching the episode to about twenty minutes longer than usual. It’s definitely worth the time to listen to it.

One thing that has me excited is that Cynic’s music alters my personal perception, yet again, of what both “metal” and music can be – and this will influence how I think about creativity as I work on writing my own music. It’s similar in this way to bands that I’ve discovered in the past that have blown my mind; Opeth comes to mind, and Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt has himself cited Cynic as being an inspiration in the past. It’s awesome that I’m finally making that connection, even belatedly.

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Chuck and Godless obviously love the album and the band. After the interview, they wrapped up the show with a short discussion about whether the album is going to garner any new fans for Cynic, and if that even really matters to the guys in the band anyway. Here’s an excerpt:

Chuck: That album is pretty amazing. It really is.

Godless: I hope lots of people pick this thing up.

Chuck: (. . .) It’s so not metal, though. It is just not… metal!

Godless: (. . .) but that’s OK!

Chuck: It’s noodle-y and awesome and like… yes! But, what were you saying about (it)? Like, you’re not sure if it has legs – I kind of agree with that. I don’t know, but I think, as a fan of Cynic, I’m in. 100% in.

Godless: Exactly.

Chuck: Just… is it gonna get new fans? I dunno. I don’t think so.

Godless: Yeah, I don’t know.

Well, it has one brand new fan here, and from comments I’ve read around the internet, there are several others like me. I’m very excited for Kindly Bent To Free Us, and looking forward to picking this up in a couple of weeks.

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Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. Follow me on Twitter at @DischordantRuss. Comments are welcome!

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