Cynic Frontman Thinks Their Early Death Metal Past Might Have Hurt Them
"I think for most people to get into Cynic, you either have to be an aging metalhead or someone who hasn't ever heard extreme metal before. The younger, strictly metal kids usually have a hard time getting into our music at first. I think it's a bit disorienting for them," Paul Masvidal tells Noisecreep. The singer/guitarist is on the phone promoting Cynic's thrilling new 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' EP.
A 23-minute transcendental journey, the EP is a world away from Cynic's early death metal days in the beginning of the '90s. "The thing is, we've never considered ourselves a death metal band – even when we started playing together. I think Sean (Reinert, Cynic drummer) and I playing in Death together was a double-edged sword for us. It hurt us. That association has been there from day one. While we definitely had some brutal moments on 'Focus,' we never really felt like we were part of the death metal scene. We actually felt like outsiders," admits Masvidal.
The guitarist is referring to 'Human,' the 1991 landmark album Death album on which he and his Cynic band mate, Sean Reinert, play on. After some touring in support of the record, the duo went back and concentrated their efforts on Cynic. Their debut album, 1993's 'Focus,' is widely considered to be one of the most important works within the progressive metal canon, but it wasn't the easiest project to promote.
"I remember going out on tour for the 'Focus' album, opening for Cannibal Corpse. It wasn't an easy time to be in the band [laughs]. Most of their fans hated us. But that goes back to the thing about Cynic never really fitting into that scene. We were in our own little clique.
"We were the only band associated in that Florida death metal scene that was into and would talk about jazz. I think Mahavishnu Orchestra (influential jazz fusion group) and some of those other types of artists were rebelling against some of the more traditional forms of jazz. Cynic was doing that with the whole extreme metal thing. But it's definitely a different scene these days. It's come around for us."
Masvidal isn't kidding. Since returning to full-time status in 2008, Cynic have become critical and fan darlings, even garnering glowing press from the New York Times. "Now there's a whole new generation of bands that have spawned since the early '90s, that are progressive-minded. It's become the norm, and that's a beautiful thing."
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