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Uncivil War - 78%

Five_Nails, February 13th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

The punchy thud of loose and jangling bass strings chunkily curls around your head as though a bandanna sporting allegiance to one of the most chemically corrupted rebel groups in the wasteland, prog. While Cynic has leaned farther into the rock realm in its latest ventures, the futuristic accouterments and bits of industrial machinery interplay well with enough curled resonance to balance the organic virtues of natural humanity with the rank and file of cybernetics.

The lyrics in “Humanoid” take a leaf out of the on the tried and true Terminator text. A world of uncontrollable machines and downtrodden humans is upset by civil war and revolution. As the song balances its aggression with artistry and the humans seek fertile soil from which to flourish, the line between organic sliding strings and choppy mechanical rhythms blurs. This song finds itself somewhat paralleling the art and poetry that comes from civil wars as civilizations, attempting to make sense of such a chaotic era and redefine themselves and their aims at the same time. The vocals accentuate this with their almost splitting harmonies and vocoder affectation in the verses while, when the orchestral strings of humanity resonate, cleanly coming through in each round of the chorus.

There is a fantastic soloing bridge between two human choruses before a trippy guitar slides across the entire register and spins around the top of one's head, sending blood rushing in waves from ear to ear in suggestion of a seizure. As the machines force a fresh front, they intermingle their mechanized rhythm with human harmony, yet remain interlocked in this melee for supremacy as the song makes its exit.

In all, this fresh Cynic single promises forward momentum for a band that has served as a stalwart companion to many a science fiction story in the past. Hopefully the band's next full-length album will surpass the disappointment of 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' because if this song is any indication of the quality to come, Cynic's next step may be another fun and fascinating piece of prog. If the album does turn out to be a dud, there can at least be the satisfaction that the conflict in this story may result in total thermonuclear war erupting across continents, echoing the apocalyptic climax of the film franchise and by default putting some better music to the end of that cinematic setback.