When people hear or see the names Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, the first thing that automatically comes to mind is their Death/Progressive Metal band Cynic, a group that has become around the world, known for their innovative take on metal through the introduction of new and diverse influences in what used to be such one-sided music. What most people don't know is that the two also collaborated on Aeon Spoke, a project that could very well do for them in the world of Alternative/Indie what Cynic did in the world of Metal. Their sophomore album, Aeon Spoke
is a fantastic collection of ethereal Indie Rock that absolutely everyone should include in their musical repertoire.
Unlike Cynic, which displays Masvidal and Reinhart utilizing their technical skills to the utmost, Aeon Spoke, is a fairly simple affair concentrating solely on emotion. The guitars throughout have a warm, friendly tone, which invites the listener with each passing chord. Mavidal (and other guitarist, solely known as "Evo") also do a superb job of switching it around when it comes to the moods of the songs. Takes like No Answers
and Pablo At the Park
show the bands lighter, happier side, while Nothing
and Cavalry of Woe
are much darker. No matter what the mood may be however, the guitar playing is filled with hooks, melodies that will stick for days, and escape your mouth in the form of a hum. During his tenure in Cynic, Masvidal became known for the fact the instead of using his real voice, the majority of the vocals were processed by a vocoder, a drastic difference from Aeon Spoke. His soft yet powerful voice is just another factor of what makes the songs so emotional. The listener can really tell how much he puts into his delivery and it really pays dividends. The Fisher Tale
is a great example of the range of his vocals, from his regular mid-range drawl to his high falsetto (which in this case is an asset instead of liability).
The drumming on this record is spectacular, with Reinhart really holding his weight with the rest of the projects emotional instrumentation. The fills and beats fit the songs perfectly, never too technical, but at the same time not in any way simple. It takes a true master of percussion to covert such feeling from a drumset, something Reinhart seems to do with ease. Standout moments for him would be the Jazz influenced playing of Grace
or the pseudo-progressive drumming of Sand and Foam
. Bass (performed by Stephen Gambina) even manages to take the forefront and is heard in every song. Gambina's solid,and fairly straightforward really shines on songs like Nothing
, where instead of blindly following the guitar or drum line, he deviates into his own, creating another successful dimension to the Aeon Spoke sound. Keyboards also take a large role in the music, being performed by both Masvidal and Reinhart respectively. Any void left open by the other instruments is successfully filled by their subtle playing, and even though the listener doesn't always realize it in the background, the keyboards are a large factor in the overall feeling of the record.
While their day jobs consist of mind boggling poly rhythmic Progressive Metal with Cynic, Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinhart truly show their colors with Aeon Spoke. Letting loose in a way they could never with Cynic, the pairing show that through their years together, any project they both full heartedly embark on, will be a success, perhaps not on a mainstream level, but on an artistic level. They aim not to please the fans who have come to expect their high quality metal onslaught, but to please their own desires. And in being true to themselves, they no doubt will captivate the hearts of thousands of fans that have faithfully followed their career. Aeon Spoke, is a project that everyone can enjoy, from hardcore Metal elitist, to mellow Indie listener and everyone inbetween.