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2.86 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Demo · 1990


1. Lifeless Irony (4:09)
2. Thinking Being (4:54)
3. Cruel Gentility (4:34)

Total Time 13:37


- Paul Masvidal / Guitar, Vocals
- Jason Gobel / Guitar
- Tony Choy / Bass
- Sean Reinert / Drums

About this release

Epidemic Records
January 1990
Cover Art by Jose Perez.
Recorded at Morrisound Studios.
Engineered by Scott Burns.
Produced by Cynic and Scott Burns

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"Demo 1990" is the third demo recording by US technical/progressive metal act Cynic. The demo was released through Epidemic Records in January 1990. It´s the successor to the 1989 "Reflections of a Dying World" demo and features one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Mark Van Erp has been replaced by Tony Choy.

The demo features three tracks, which are exclusive to this demo (meaning they wouldn´t make it unto Cynic´s 1993 debut full-length studio album "Focus"). Although still rooted in the Bay Area thrash metal style, Cynic show a lot of progression on this demo compared to the first two demos. The technical aspect of their sound is in focus here, and this is generally a highly technical thrash metal release featuring tempo changes and toying with time signatures, and fusion influenced drumming (and guitar solos). Masvidal´s vocals are still raw staccato delivered thrash metal vocals, which get the job done, but not much more than that.

In terms of production values "Demo 1990" was recorded at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida, and it was produced by Scott Burns and Cynic, which means that the demo features a heavier and more meaty sounding production, than most thrash metal demos from those days. Burns had already worked on some of the early death metal recordings by artists like Obituary and Amon (later Deicide), and had a good idea on how to create heavy sounding recordings and the massive production job suits Cynic´s music well.

Upon conclusion "Demo 1990" is a big leap forward for Cynic, but because of the thrash metal riffs and songwriting ideas this still doesn´t sound much like Cynic would just a few years down the line. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
Conor Fynes
'90 Demo' - Cynic (4/10)

With two demos of varying quality under their belt, Cynic makes something of a return to form with their '90 Demo'. Now twenty years old, one can hear Paul Masvidal's style taking shape a little more, although it is clear that the band is still well underneath the wing of their contemporaries Death. Now featuring legendary bassist Tony Choy, it is a shame that '90 Demo' still doesn't have the clarity of the first thing the band released, because for all intents and purposes, this would be the most musically developed thing that Cynic had released yet. Still four years away from the release of their classic album 'Focus' however, Cynic would need a lot of work before they could start influencing other bands themselves.

Featuring three songs, Cynic begins to tread away from the proto-death metal thrashiness that is porbably best exemplified with Death's 'Scream Bloody Gore', and goes for a somewhat more technical approach. The track 'Cruel Gentility' for example features some incredible lead work from Paul Masvidal that seems to take less of an emphasis on raw speed and goes towards more of a well-intentioned take on shredding. The songwriting may very well be the thing that has changed least since Cynic first took the stage, still featuring the interchanging riffs and solos underneath somewhat philosophical lyric work. The songs are generally better played than they ever have before, even though it still does not feel as if the recording lends itself well to having each instrument heard clearly. Perhaps the greatest fault here is the fact that bassist Tony Choy (who would later go on to achieve fame with Atheist) is not easily heard on the tracks here, instead being barely audible. Even so, '90 Demo' is fairly good as demos go, although it still suffers from many of the flaws that entail being one.

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