Review Summary: For hardcore Cynic fans only.
Bands like Cynic are hard to come by these days. Cynic has only put out two full-lengths, but the material in those albums is top-quality, genre defining material. But, like most other bands, Cynic had a rough time getting started. Their first demo, appropriately entitled ’88 Demo
, was absolutely nothing like the Cynic we’ve come to know and love. There was no trace of Cynic’s signature melodic death metal sound and you’ll find Jimmy Hoffa’s body before you locate even a trace of jazz influence. As for Reflections of a Dying World
, Cynic showed very little signs of improvement.
One thing you’ll notice instantly is the vomit-inducing production. It’s not even the healthy type of bad production found on black metal classics like Nattens Madrigal
or Transylvanian Hunger
that releases a ominous dark atmosphere, enhancing the listening experience. It’s the awful type of bad production that strains your ears, making it a pain to make out the mediocre riffs under the vocals. Not to mention the fact that Paul Masvidal - the guitar wizard of Cynic - takes on the vocal duties on this record after the departure of previous singer Jack Kelly. He actually does a pretty good job doing crossover vocals, but the vocals mean next to nothing if the instrumental aspect of the music isn’t up-to-par. The guitar work is barely passable with a few good riffs scattered here and there. The bass is pretty inaudible, but it makes no difference since most of the time it’s just mimicking the rhythm guitarist. As for the drums, it’s standard punk feel throughout. Who would’ve known Sean Reinert would turn into the beast he is today?
All in all, there is absolutely nothing special to be found in this demo. It’s pretty hard to differentiate one song from another since they stay in the same dull-sounding, boring crossover feel the entire time without any improvement from their previous demo. This demo shows Cynic in their ‘wannabe thrash metal’ days and is recommended to hardcore Cynic fans only.