Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, August 8, 2014

iNFiNiEN, Reign of Kindo, Lesser Key and Cynic at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia

The day had come, the day I would see one of my favorite bands of all time and the band who had made my favorite record of 2014 thus far. Cynic would be playing at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, a new venue for me. It's very exciting being in a new city and having all of this kind of stuff to discover, new people, concert halls and bands. I went into the show with my friend Erin, ready for an evening of progressive metal magic with a wealth of exciting groups laid out ahead of me, all set to impress the faithful fans.

iNFiNiEN were the first group up, and despite having an impossible to type name, they actually put on a really interesting set. Their mix of sounds in a prog context was really interesting. One thing I really dug which they didn't do nearly enough of was mixing male and female vocals, their bassist can really belt it, yet they rarely let him sing. That being said, these guys still put on a killer show, from the extended piano jams to the exciting bass lines, iNFiNiEN have it right. They understand what it means to craft sounds that leave your mind on the floor, trying to figure out what you're supposed to do with the heap of broken images they've handed you. In other words, these guys are damn good!

Reign of Kindo were up next, my main memory of their set was that their singer looked a lot like David Tenant from Doctor Who. Asides from that, their unique brand of prog rock actually reminded me a fair bit of Haken. I really liked how they used two percussionists, one behind a traditional kit and the other using a more unique array of instruments. As far as songwriting goes, they produced some really cool ideas, the way that the pieces are interlayered is pretty interesting and they definitely are gifted musicians. The vocal lines were memorable, if whiny, which is one of the main failings of the band. That being said, Reign of Kind were still a joy to watch and left me excited to check out some more.

Next it was time for Lesser Key, the group providing direct support for Cynic. Their sound was really cool and rather different, I believe this was in part due to their smaller four person lineup and also that their singer only occasionally provided piano backings. He used a lot of interesting vocal effects though which kept the entire thing engaging. The way his wails roared forth had an incredible passion, it made the set very interesting to watch. As a side note, their bassist has great stage presence, taking to the stage like a true rock star with windmills, head banging, and all sorts of other metal madness. These guys know where it's at, and this allows them to just focus on what matters, follow their dream, and rock the stage.

Now it was time for Cynic, the band I had anticipated seeing for years. From the first song, a stunning rendition of True Hallucination Speak, to the closing track, Kindly Bent to Free Us they simply blew my mind. It's been a good long while (Since Black Sabbath) that I saw a band who made me cry live, and no other band has made me cry as hard as Cynic. There is a certain very human (Get it?) beauty to their music which simply speaks to the soul and really evidences the enduring power of one of the seminal metal bands of any generation. The music spoke to me in a way it never had from the record and simply left me in awe, a slave to the almighty power of the magic in the metal.

This is what dominated my evening, a simple paean to the glory of a band who bring technicality into an incredibly emotional band. With touches of improvisation (And even a full on jam near the end of the set) Masvidal, Reinert, Phelps, and Malone were able to craft something greater than the sum of it's parts. These guys still know where it's at after all these years and have remained incredibly unique and still humble. So feel the glory and hear the lions roar, there is no stopping Cynic, they understand the human heart, and want to bring you on their journey to spiritual enlightenment.

Find the bands on Facebook!


The Reign of Kindo:

Lesser Key:


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