Meshuggah, Cynic, the Faceless | House of Blues | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Meshuggah, Cynic, the Faceless Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Feb. 15, 6 p.m. 2009

Progressive metal is only intermittently trendy and always idiosyncratic, and few bands live embody its otherworldly, larks’-tongues-in-aspic eccentricity as fully as Cynic, who’ve been broken up almost twice as long as they’ve been together but still managed to become legends. Listening to last year’s Traced in Air (Season of Mist), the long-awaited follow-up to 1993’s Focus, I’d almost be willing to believe that guitarist and vocalist Paul Masvidal—who founded Cynic with drummer Sean Reinert in 1987 in Miami—has done nothing but sit in his wizard’s tower practicing while the world changed around him. His lightning runs, hailstorm riffs, and cirrus-cloud textures are all still there, as is his odd vocal style, which alternates between an ordinary, almost fragile singing voice and glassy vocoderized keening. Everything about the album suggests a band immersed in a dialect of metal that it alone speaks fluently: the gloriously strange structures, the conceptual focus on the classical element of air, the eruptions of bloody death growls (courtesy new second guitarist Tymon Kruidenier) amid the lucid frenzies of crisp instrumental technique. But as Cynic proved on last year’s tour with Opeth—and ought to prove again on this one with Meshuggah—they can hold their own alongside the rest of the brilliant and the brutal. Meshuggah headlines; Cynic and the Faceless open. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $20-$22

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