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Cynic – ‘Ascension Codes’

Season of Mist
The Contortionist, Atheist, Beyond Creation
Release Date
November 19, 2021
Season of Mist
Progressive Metal

We often marvel at the most wondrous creation, whether it be birthed from the potter’s hands, the very hands that smooths the edges of the clay as it is shaped towards the desired image of the mind, or it may be the pen that invokes upon the soul with delicate words tinged in emotional depth. But like smoke that dissolves in the wind, some may not pay heed to the womb from whence these mesmeric wonders were produced, for it is beyond the tangible…beyond the invisible where the very essence that bestowed life to these ideas, it is the well of stars for which illuminates upon an inquisitive mind…and if the stars within oneself were aligned, for if  pure innocence and creativity could be crafted from the very breath of the wind, where one creates as he speaks, the result would be Cynic’s ,’Ascension Codes’ , for it is the sound of a mind that transcends beyond this mortal coil, the sound of tranquility, where one’s scales are no longer weighed by the stone of rage.

Where Cynic thrives upon ‘Ascension Codes’ is within its complexity, as the musical prowess displayed ascends the technical compositions that are usually used to erect a façade of virtuosity, here it feels neither forced nor contrived, as though one taps an already drained vein expecting life’s essence to flow. Rather the sonic reverberation upon the album expels an energy akin to ataraxia, where its flows mimics that of the sea, and the rhythm becomes your compass to charter these unknown territories.

Tracks such as ‘The Winged Ones’, ‘6th Dimensional Archetype’ and ‘DNA Activation Template’ presents itself like a flower that is in bloom, where the experience is slowed down so that the eyes may drink upon its serene evolution, these aspects are crafted with the dexterity of the guitars and bass producing a seraphic spirit to it’s a playing, a spirit that shapes itself to the cosmic currents of the musical content, where its demeanor coalesces with the lambent atmosphere.

What is appreciated here is that the songs upon the album feels like a natural progression, fusing the elements of  ‘Focus’ with the much later releases such as ‘Traced in Air’ as one of the most crucial factors of Cynic, in my opinion, comes naught from the binaural-esque playing with meandering progressive-laden patterns, but instead it is the sky-filled aura that is evoked, in other words, the musical composition can be viewed as a means to weave this cosmic fabric together, and again, this is prevalent on ‘Ascension Codes’.

However, another variable which radiates throughout ‘Ascension Code’ comes in the form of the percussions, as it is the very pulse that surges in a fluttered fashion throughout this constellate entity. ‘In a Multiverse Where Atoms Sing’ is one instance upon the album that showcases the textures generated from the drumming, the methodical timing as well as the clarity brings forth a luminous vibe, for the drums can be imagined as the intricate details belonging to a portrait, the subtle lines and shading which accentuates the art, the meticulous yet gentle stippling that magnifies the features, so too does the drums act where ‘Ascension Code’ is concerned, as it is minuscule moments that highlights this cosmic structure. The vocals are one of my personal favorites on the album, as it transfigures itself into various forms becoming the very spark that ignites life and fosters the hearth of creation on ‘Ascension Code’.  The track, ‘Aurora’ demonstrates this sentiment giving a voice to the cluster of skies that graces the ink of night.

Some readers may be wondering why throughout this review the names of both late legends, Sean Reinert and Sean Malone have not been mentioned once. Truth is, I believe my mere words will not do justice to even speak upon the light that is brought forth by their art, but…I will say this, it was because of both Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert’s presence on Death’s ‘Human’, that made it my favorite Death record as well as one of my favorite Death Metal albums, and it was because of the trio(Masvidal,Reinert,Malone) on Cynic’s ‘Focus’ which opened my eyes to different forms of progressive elements in Extreme Metal due to its celestial presence for which that album emits. The world has lost two beautiful musicians, but their art will always be immortal where the colors shall never run, never age and within its notes beauty and sound shall be one forever more.

‘Ascension Codes’ comes off as a fitting tribute to honor the work of these artists but also as evolutionary figure within the realm of Cynic. The album as a whole becomes a ritualistic journey that should be experienced from start to finish, where each moment savored and revisited. One may fear to take the plunge into the unknown, for the thought of what may or may not be found, but ‘Ascension Code’ creates a supernal atmosphere where a soul would yearn to be within its embrace and cocooned in its aura where you emerge from its chrysalis devoid of all fear that clings to the flesh.

“Ascension Code carries the mind upon an odyssey of stars”

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