Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cynic The Portal Tapes album cover
3.56 | 60 ratings | 3 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy CYNIC Music
from partners
Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Endless Endeavors (3:56)
2. Karma's Plight (5:23)
3. Circle (5:10)
4. Costumed In Grace (4:24)
5. Cosmos (4:21)
6. Crawl Above (3:57)
7. Mirror Child (5:04)
8. Road To You (4:25)
9. Belong (4:20)
10. Not The Same (4:29)

Total Time 45:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Masvidal / guitars, vocals
- Sean Reinert / drums
- Jason Gobel / guitars
- Cris Kringel / bass guitar
- Aruna Abrams / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

March 2012, Season of Mist.

The re-re-release of the 1995 demos for a Cynic side project called "Portal", containing songs that have not surfaced since the self-released demo itself.

Trivia: Cosmos, Circle and Endless Endeavours were made available 6 years before in the 2004 Roadrunner re-release of Focus.

Thanks to sfranke for the addition
and to CCVP for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy CYNIC The Portal Tapes Music

CYNIC The Portal Tapes ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

CYNIC The Portal Tapes reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Although this may appear to be a 'new' album from Cynic, it is in reality an album that is now more than 15 years old. Back in 1993 the band released the wonderful 'Focus' where they mixed together metal, jazz and prog in a way that some people fully understood while others didn't, and it has to be said that their record label probably fell into the latter camp and didn't promote it as they should have done. Now, if you are only aware of the recorded history of the band you probably think that following the debut they didn't do anything until the widely- acclaimed sophomore 'Traced In Air' which came out in 2008 following their reformation, but you would be wrong. Following a lot of touring to promote 'Focus' the band split up, only for Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert and Jason Gobel to get back together for a new project called Portal. To complete the line-up they brought in Chris Kringel and Aruna Abrams, the latter to provide a female lead/harmony vocal as they went for a different musical and vocal approach. They recorded a demo album, but nothing ever came of it until now ? strangely there is no mention of the album or the project on the band's website, but at long last we have the opportunity to hear it.

What is really interesting about this album is that while it would have surprised a lot of Cynic fans if it had been released at the time, it now sounds incredibly relevant to both what Cynic are doing and also to the music scene in general. The twin vocals work extremely well, while of course the intricate musicianship is just what one expects from these guys. The addition of Chris Kringle has made quite a difference to their overall sound as he plays fretless instead of fretted bass, and that adds a very different warmth and feel to the sound. The way he bends notes and gently moves around the music provides extra dynamics and lots more depth. Some of the songs are almost radio friendly with Aruna's vocals being quite similar to Tracy Hitchings, relaxed but with clarity and range.

I still find it hard to think that this album was recorded as a demo in the Nineties, and that it has taken until now for it to be released. It is not nearly as heavy as Cynic could be back in the day, with far more atmosphere and light within the shade, and is something that progheads need to search out much more than metalheads with prog and jazz elements often taking centre stage.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Portal Tapes" is a full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Cynic. The album was released through Season of Mist in March 2012. It's not really a Cynic album though and it was probably only released under the Cynic monicker to capitalize on the wave of success that Cynic were riding after their comeback in 2006. The material featured on "The Portal Tapes" were originally recorded under the Portal monicker after Cynic disbanded in 1994. Although Cynic split-up Paul Masvidal (guitars, vocals), Sean Reinert (drums), and Jason Gobel (guitars) opted to continue playing together and formed Portal with Cris Kringel (bass), and female vocalist/keyboard player Aruna Abrams. Portal recorded enough material for a full album, but the project ended up shelved until 2012 when Season of Mist picked it up and released it under the Cynic monicker.

Stylistically there are many similarities between Cynic and Portal, but there are also some fundamental differences. First off Portal features female clean vocals as well as male clean vocals, and no extreme distorted vocals. Next there are no hard edged riffing or anything remotely aggressive about the music. The material on "The Portal Tapes" is a dreamy atmospheric/new age type of music with fusion oriented rhythms as the foundation (maybe new age fusion isn't the worst description). There's an almost ethereal spiritual quality to the proceedings, which song titles like "Karma's Plight", "Cosmos", and "Mirror Child" also suggest.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Aruna Abrams is a skilled vocalist, and Paul Masvidal's sedated dreamy vocals compliment her well. It's all very pleasant sounding and relaxing but by no means simple or easily accessible. You'll have to dig for hooks and the tracks aren't instantly easy to tell apart either. The latter is a slight issue to my ears, and the songwriting could have prospered from a bit more variation and more catchy moments. The album is very well produced, featuring a clean, clear, and detailed sound, which suits the atmospheric music well. So while the music doens't make as much impact as it could have, "The Portal Tapes" is still a pretty interesting release for fans of atmospheric music with fusion rhythms and clean female/male singing, and the high level musicianship and professional sounding production pull in a positive direction too. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Latest members reviews

3 stars Prog for the unwashed masses? With so little time actually working under the band name Cynic, it's amazing that guitarist Paul Masidal and drummer Sean Reinert (the core duo that hold together the working collective known as Cynic) have such a wealth of material to offer their fans. This time it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1203596) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of CYNIC "The Portal Tapes"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.