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 music. But, like most other bands, Cynic had a rough time getting started. Their first demo, appropriately titled ’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 its successor, Reflections of a Dying World
, Cynic showed very little signs of improvement, if any.
One thing you’ll notice instantly is the horrid production. It’s not even the appealing type of "bad" production found on black metal classics like Nattens Madrigal
and Transylvanian Hunger
; the type of production that provides an ominous, trance-like atmosphere, thus enhancing the overall listening experience. On Reflections of a Dying World
, we're greeted with the awful type of bad production that strains your ears as you try to decipher the muddled riffs, which aren't even that good. An interesting aspect of this demo is that Paul Masvidal - the guitar wizard of Cynic - takes on the vocal duties, after the departure of previous vocalist Jack Kelly. He actually does pretty decent crossover screams; his shouting is raw and in your face, the antithesis of his auto-tuned robotic clean singing on Cynic's LPs. But unfortunately the instrumentals are subpar at best. The guitar work is made up of barely passable hardcore riffs, with decent melodies being few and far between. The bass is almost inaudible, but it makes little difference since most of the time it’s just mimicking the rhythm guitarist. As for the drums, it's nothing more than a standard, run-of-the-mill 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 hard to differentiate one song from another since they all stay in the same dull, anti-climactic crossover feel the entire time, showing no signs of improvement from their previous demo. Reflections of a Dying World
is Cynic in their ‘wannabe thrash metal’ days and is recommended to hardcore Cynic fans only.