Cynic – Uroboric Forms, The Complete Demo Collection

 

In 2017 the landscape of metal is still reveling and rich in the almost unlevelled influence of Cynic. From their début album Focus (Roadrunner), which paved a road for progressive death metal with its complexity and its jazz influences, they returned from hiatus in 2008 to a scene virtually of their own creation and have continued to prove themselves as true kings of the progressive metal and tech metal genres that came in their wake. With Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal the continuous pairing behind Cynic, their legacy to this day sees them as one of the most revered bands of the genre.

Uroboric Forms – The Complete Demo Collection (Century Media) sees the much sought-after demos from the late 80’s to early 90’s finally released together in one package. The release encompasses the period of time leading up to the release of their classic Focus album, and offers an intriguing snapshot of the bands’ development. Choosing to order the demos here in reverse chronological order is an interesting move which; for those who are hearing the demos for the first time, offers familiarity first with stripped down, raw versions of the likes of ‘Uroboric Forms’ and ‘The Eagle Nature’ from their début,  and, in the case of the opening tracks, there is a somewhat different take on songs any Prog Metal fan should be very familiar with. By the time of the final, 1988 demo, musically they sit in much more straightforward territory more akin to Thrash and their Death Metal peers than the experimental legends they would become.

Also included as a bonus are two additional, never-before-released vocal audition tracks which included Viogression’s Brian DeNeffe, which gives a small window of just how different this band could have sounded in different circumstances, but otherwise are nothing more than curiosities for the staunchest of fans. In fact this rings true for the package as a whole, for while it certainly offers an intriguing look into the history of the band and how the pair fine-tuned their sound from a strong Thrash and Death Metal background to a style-bending and genre classic album; beyond that, it is hard to see how anyone but the most cult and devout fan will find true value here.

6.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL