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Cynic: Ascension Codes

There are few bands in the world of extreme music that have had the same kind of influence and generational reach that Cynic has amassed over the years. From their groundbreaking debut album Focus to Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert’s legendary but short stint with Death on that bands also groundbreaking album Human, to their reformation and later short but fruitful album run ending with 2014’s Kindly Bent To Free Us. Sadly however, the band would implode after that point due to many personal issues for each of the members and in spite of the material that was on the table at the time for a follow up album. The subsequent deaths of both Reinert and bassist Sean Malone also made the completion of any more Cynic material go from unlikely to seemingly impossible. However Masvidal’s creative juices had never stopped flowing through all the intervening years and after experiencing the pain of losing two of his very closest friends and colleagues he felt more determined than ever to complete the album in honor of his fallen comrades.

The music on Ascension Codes is pure transcendental Cynic. Lush soundscapes, classic Masvidal riffs, snaking bass lines and dynamic percussion. Coming into the fold for this album is Matt Lynch who does a great job at both channeling the spirit of Sean Reinert and also forging his own unique stamp on the music. The drumming throughout is fantastic and he was an excellent addition to the band. Also Dave Mackay joins on Bass Synthesizer and Keyboards and also brings a unique yet well fitting voice to the music. The bass synth lines on tracks like “The Winged Ones” and “Aurora” are full of groove and add plenty of movement and life to the album and his keyboards add the rich soundscape to the whole album. Guitar extraordinaire Plini also features on several tracks providing some very tasteful and expert soloing.

On the downside, between each track are sprinkled each of the ascension codes themselves which equate to small dreamlike interludes that for my money often hinder the overall flow of the album. Also the album seems to be front and back loaded with the middle of the album falling into new-age meandering of the snoozefest variety. “DNA Activation Template” is the prime culprit in that regard and it combined with the codes around it makes Ascension Codes grind to a halt. Luckily the album resurfaces again about half way through “Architects of Consciousness” and remains alive and kicking through to the end.

Ascension Codes is not a perfect album and I feel like it could definitely trim quite a lot or at least replace it with more energetic songs. That being said though I think the strong songs on this album rank up with their best material and overall Ascension Codes is a very enjoyable, relaxing journey that while sometimes somewhat meandering it manages to also be full of emotion and the longing, frustration and anger of the tragedies experienced by the band are heard embedded in the music and really that's what it's all about. Fans of Cynic, Progressive Metal and Rock should enjoy this one.

Recording Lineup:
Paul Masvidal-Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics
Dave Mackay-Bass Synthesizer, Keyboards
Matt Lynch- Drumscapes

Guest Musicians:
Guitar Codes ^ Artifacts: Dark
Voice Code Activations: Anrita Melchizedek
Reptilian Collective: Max Phelps
TWO Soloscape: Plini
Crystal Bowl Attunements: Michael Devin
Light Language Teachers: Amy Correia ^ Joshua Leon
DLB MetaTerrestrial: Ezekial Kaplan

01. Mu-54*
02. The Winged Ones
03. A'-va432 04. Elements and their Inhabitants
05. Ha-144
06. Mythical Serpents
07. Sha48*
08. 6th Dimensional Archetype
09. DNA Activation Template
10. Shar-216 11. Architects of Consciousness
12. DA'z-a86.4
13. Aurora
14. DU-*61.714285...
15. In a Multiverse Where Atoms Sing
16. A'jha108
17. Diamond Light Body
18. Ec-ka72

Added: January 11th 2022
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 886
Language: english

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