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Cynic’s ‘Focus’ Tour Takes Fans on a ‘Celestial Voyage’

Justina Villanueva

Cynic had a busy 1991. Members Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert played on Death‘s ‘Human’ album, while Cynic scored a deal with Roadrunner Records. Touring for ‘Human’ pushed back the recording of ‘Focus’ — a masterpiece of progressive death metal. Almost a year ago, Decibel magazine inducted the band’s first full-length into the Decibel Hall of Fame. For extreme music fans, the monthly article really is a text version of visiting the physical Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; it is that packed with information.

The band, magazine and label, Season of Mist, went a step further this summer and gave Americans the chance to see the album in full.

Justina Villanueva

On Aug. 6, when the ‘Focus’ tour — which included Dysrhythmia and Intronaut — stopped in New York City, the band proved that they could really bring the album to life. There was a laser show, projected visuals and a yoga lesson.

“Yoga, yoga, yoga,” fans chanted before Cynic stepped on stage. You would’ve thought that they would be more excited to see the band play half their discography in full. Yet all it took was the first notes of ‘Veil of Maya’ to kick in for everyone to get loose. Songs like ‘Celestial Voyage’ and ‘Urboric Forms’ really made the crowd go bonkers.

“There you have it — ‘Focus.’ Done,” Masvidal told the crowd after they finished ‘How Could I.’

“Play it again!” a fan requested.

“Nah, no. We’re moving it forward, now,” Masvidal replied.

The most exciting part of the show was trying to figure out what the band would do after playing ‘Focus.’ Masvidal broke out a chair, an electric acoustic and talked about the ‘Re-traced’ EP — which is the band’s re-interpretation of songs from their second album, ‘Traced in Air.’ Bassist Robin Zielhorst and guitarist Tymon Kruidenier sat on the floor for the band’s remix of ‘Integral Birth.’

Then, fans got what they really wanted: some yoga. “In yoga, you need a lot of space. So there is only one move we can do. The halfmoon.” The entire venue stretched their hands above their heads and swayed from side to side, stretching as far as they could.

Afterward, Masvidal talked to the crowd about how rad it is to play New York City. Then, the guitarist felt comfortable enough to tell the audience that they were going to step off stage and wait for an encore call so they could “bust out some more songs.”

The encore started off with ‘Cosmos’ from the ‘Portal’ demo, which was never officially released and can only be found as MP3 files online. “This is the better version,” Masvidal said.

The band finished an exceptionally intimate set that satisfied fans who’ve been waiting for the band to do a headlining tour since the reunion announcement in 2006. Be sure to check out the ‘Re-Traced’ EP, which is out now on Season of Mist.

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