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'88 DEMO


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Cynic '88 Demo album cover
2.13 | 14 ratings | 4 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Once Misguided (2:58)
2. Weak Reasoning (3:36)
3. Dwellers of the Threshold (3:58)

Total Time 10:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Jack Kelly / vocals
- Paul Masvidal / guitar
- Mark Van Erp / bass
- Sean Reinert / drums

Releases information

Self Released

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CYNIC '88 Demo ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

CYNIC '88 Demo reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "'88 Demo" is, just as the name suggests, an 1988 cassette demo tape by US technical/progressive death metal act Cynic. While it wouldnīt be until 1993 that Cynic released their debut full-length studio album "Focus", they were rather busy in the intermediate years. Cynic recorded 4 demos and played as session musicians on many metal albums by other artists (Death, Pestilence, Master, Monstrosity, Atheist) before getting a record contract with Roadrunner Records. The last demo was recorded for Roadrunner Records in 1991. This demo from 1988 is the first demo Cynic released.

The music is on the demo is in the vein of Bay Area mid- to late eighties thrash metal ala Forbidden, Vio-Lence and Testament. The technical/progressive death metal influences that are present on "Focus", are not a part of the bandīs sound yet and wouldnīt be until the third demo. The thrash metal sound are mostly due to Jack Kellyīs raw voice and his singing style, but the guitar riffs also point in a thrash metal direction. The tracks arenīt that memorable and the songwriting is obviously a bit imature at this point.

The musicians are not that accomplished yet, which is probably due to their young age. Sean Reinert sticks out a bit though as his drumming is pretty competent even this early on.

The sound production is pretty noisy and lo-fi. Itīs very typical for eighties metal cassette demos, so itīs really no surprise. Especially the bass has an odd sound, that are really distracting when trying to figure out what Cynic want to do with their music. The guitar sounds very weak too.

Iīd say this demo is only for the really hardcore fans and even some of those fans probably wonīt be able to appreciate the demo. Personally I like the bay Area thrash metal style and enjoy this demo moderately and Iīll rate it with a 2 star (40%) rating.

Review by ProgBagel
2 stars Cynic '1988 Demo' 2 stars

Cynic; a band who is now known as a legendary death metal/jazz fusion act reached new heights in music with their debut album 'Focus'. It was not from humble beginnings though. The band was formed by the friendship Paul Masvidal (guitar) and Sean Reinert (drums). On this recording Mark Van Erp joined on bass while Jack Kelly is on vocals.

This release is more thrash metal than anything else. The musicianship is above par though in comparison to that genre. It is clear though, that drummer Sean Reinert is well above not only standard musicianship in thrash, but just about any genre. He was already proficient since his first official recording. This recording is very comparable to some of early 'Death' work. It seems only natural that the founding members of this band would appear on the line-up for Death's 'Human' album many years later.

Anyway, this album is mostly a thrash metal album with death metal vocals. Occasionally, Paul Masvidal will throw in a nice solo which are the highlights shared by Sean's incredible drums. Only a collector's item naturally, and good luck finding it if you want to buy it.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars '88 Demo' - Cynic (4/10)

Around the same time that Floridan death metal pioneers Death came out with their seminal debut 'Scream Bloody Gore', a then-unknown act called Cynic came out with this demo, a fairly raw piece of early death metal and thrash that sounds greatly unlike the technical progressive metal act they would later develop into years later. Being a demo, there is no implication of polish or nuance here, instead just meaning to give the metal scene of the time a way to gauge the talents that were already apparent in Cynic at this time. That being said however, Cynic's '88 Demo' is nothing when compared to their jazzier material, and while it is sure to appeal to fans of other Floridan death metal, the musical quality would only improve from here.

With vocals from Jack Kelly, bass from Mark Van Erp, guitars from Paul Masvidal, and drums courtesy of Sean Reinert, this is a Cynic that is only partially recognizable when compared to the most widely regarded line-up with 'Focus'. As demos go, Cynic's work here is actually decently produced, with each musician being somewhat clearly heard. Even the bass work here (which plays a solid part in the music here) is audible and contributes to the sound. Masvidal still sounds like a disciple of Chuck Schuldiner here, but for what his technique lacks in originality here, he plays the riffs here well. The songwriting is fairly mediocre, being fairly on par with the sort of material Death released with 'Scream Bloody Gore', so if a listener enjoyed that album, the '88 Demo' of Cynic should give an enjoyable listening experience. Possibly the weakest aspect of '88 Demo' though are the vocals of Jack Kelly, who may be fairly run-of-the- mill as growlers go, but the way his voice is recorded in the production makes his voice sound like a muffled garble as opposed to anything musical.

The '88 Demo' shows Cynic as a fairly generic Floridan death metal act, and while I personally find it to be fairly mediocre and easy to digest, the quality that Cynic has even early on should spark the interest of those that are into this particular scene in metal.

Latest members reviews

2 stars "A Humble Beginning." Few would debate the serenity and calmness of the modern incarnation of Paul Masvidal, so much so that at times the more metal parts of Traced in Air seem at odds with his character. Not so when he and long-time friend and bandmate, Sean Reinert, formed Cynic in 1987, a y ... (read more)

Report this review (#227906) | Posted by Too Many Zeros | Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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