An eclectic collection of hard and heavy rock this week. I am sure you will find something to your liking.
Cynic: Carbon Based Anatomy
You might be forgiven for thinking when listening to the first track that you have stumbled on a Yoko Ono record or some ambient chill out music from the 90s. There is a hint of Portishead about it as well. In fact what you have here is Cynic, the much loved cult band of Florida heavy rockers as they continue their way to progressive perfection.
Cynic paved the way for bands like Anathema and Opeth to evolve as a band as they got older. While Anathema and Opeth began as death metal bands, Cynic were thrash metal before they drifted into progressive death metal to final transformation into a cult prog metal band. It could be argued that like Opeth on their last opus, Cynic is no longer much of a metal band at all. And therein lies the rub for some.
Like Opeth's latest, this new Cynic EP is an acquired taste. As with their last effort the critics, as well as fans of the band, will no doubt be vastly divided. This is very much jazz fusion prog with lots of complexity and nuance. It's great stuff for those who like their heavy music deep but it is not exactly the type of music to party to.
The layers of complexity make it all the more rewarding with each listen. I quite enjoy the prog metal evolution that bands are participating in these days. It keeps metal fresh and innovative. Though sometimes the music takes a bit of getting used to and requires some time investment, it is well worth the effort. This is one such album.
Ronnie James Dio: And Before Elf... There Were Elves
As many have predicted, including this column, there are people trawling the vaults for anything that has even a wiff of Ronnie James Dio about it. Some are releasing piss poor recordings of the greatly missed vocalist to cash in on nostalgia and sadness. This release could be considered an example of that trend. That would be, of course, extremely unfair to this release. That said, it is probably for completists and not for the passing RJD fan.
This is a recording of the band that would evolve into Elf. The band that consequently was pinched, save the guitarist, by Richie Blackmore to form Rainbow, before he ditched all of them and just kept RJD. There is not much original on here but to hear RJD belting out a few blues songs back when he was a whelp has merit. As you might have gathered from the tone of the beginning of this review, I was initially dismissive of its worth. That was until I gave it a few listens.