Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us
Season Of Mist
Progressive Metal/Progressive Rock
8 songs (41:52)
Release year: 2014
Cynic, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Neill

I think it goes without saying that Cynic is a very highly respected band in the metal scene. From the classic Focus to the incredible Traced In Air, and the releases in between, their output has always been interesting, and always had a very high qualities. It goes without saying just how anticipated the new release Kindly Bent to Free Us was. The first full length release in over half a decade, and third full length overall, progresses the sound of the band further, and continues to be an amazing example of prog and technical, yet accessible music.

The album feels like a natural progression for the band, but some may feel it's a big departure due to one big thing: not really being "metal." Despite the technicality and progressive aspects of the album, it sounds more like to a prog rock, or even an art rock album than anything metal. There are no harsh vocals on the record, which I heard quite a few complaints about when The Lion's Roar lyric video was released. Again, to me this feels like a natural progression and I do not miss the harsh vocals at all.

The album has everything we would want from a progressive band with he history of Cynic. The angelic vocals, the incredible musicianship from all members involved, and a great progression. One thing I love about this band and album, is that despite the technical music, the song structures never get compromised, and everything works in a very accessible manner. I would not say this is a "mainstream" album but it is very easy to get into, which is a compliment for the work these musicians are doing.

The album certainly is not perfect by any means though. The album is actually the longest of Cynic's three full lengths, and there is some "filler" on here. The songs are good in their own ways, but the album does drag a bit in the second half. After the amazing (and my personal favorite) Infinite Shapes the album does become a little less memorable. The solos in Moon Heart Sun Head are fantastic, but the rest of the track falls short to me. I feel the first 4 tracks could have been spread out on the album a bit to make the whole album feel stronger, but having the 4 best songs come first is hard to live up to. While those last tracks do not do much for me, they still have enjoyable moments, with the exception of one. As I've said before in prior reviews, I feel the last song on the album should be one of the more powerful tracks. Whether it be emotionally, musically, etc, the last song on an album should bring everything to a good close, and tie things up well. There should be a good climax to the record, which Endlessly Bountiful fails to do. There is nothing here to grab my attention, and leaves things feeling unresolved, and ends on a dull note. It's the only song I really feel could have been left off the record.

Despite these few flaws, the album is still very well produced, and the musicianship is undeniable. I personally expected a little more, but this is by no means a weak album. It doesn't have the impact I felt when I heard Traced in Air but it is better than Focus as the song writing has gotten better, and the songs, even if not as "classic" are more pronounced and are some of the more memorable stuff the band has written. I just wish there was more like the first few tracks. Overall though, the album is a good addition to the band's catalogue, and still a good listen for any metal fan. Since I can not find a link for just Infinite Shapes, here check out the entire album here on bandcamp.

Killing Songs :
The Lion's Roar, Kindly Bent To Free Us, Infinite Shapes
Neill quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Cynic that we have reviewed:
Cynic - The Portal Tapes reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Cynic - Re-Traced reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Cynic - Traced In Air reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Cynic - Focus (Re-Issue) reviewed by Ken and quoted CLASSIC
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