Review: “Rebirth” by Cynical Existence

Gothenburg Sweden is home to Cynical Existence, a band who after four Extended Play releases in five years, took stock of their sound and started a new chapter. A trio of singles with a more Metal oriented sound and a cover of “Cold” by Static-X helped establish the sound of the bands full debut album, “Rebirth” a fresh start after 6 years?

The use of synths and programming in the sound of Cynical Existence is something that the band use to separate their sound from the pack. “No Way Out” starts the album with some dark and cold atmospherics before kicking into a mid paced chugger of a track with some signature battery acid caustic vocals from frontman Fredrik, who also handled the synths. Despite the intensity of the vocals the song has a catchy hook and sing-a-long chorus that works well. An eerie sample and cold synth pattern bring in “Nightmare” with riffs and lyrics that sound like they would belong on one of the newer Wednesday 13 albums, if it wasn’t for the synths being so heavily used. At times they’re effectively a second guitar and while they are integrated well into the sound for the most part there are a few frayed edges. “Killing You” sees some deeper growling Death Metal vocals appear in the mix as another voice is taken on to give contrast. A couple of synth only passages are broken by the band going full throttle into a chorus, the synths effectively creating skeleton for the band to play around within, though the guitars don’t have the punch of a Mnemic¬†or the aforementioned Static-X.

A powerhouse introduction on “Static” has Rammstein¬†esq Industrial flare before the band build into their own signature sound with a big chorus of thunderous drums and chugging riffs. It’s a fine example of the album sound as a whole. “Crawling Chaos” changes direction slightly by introducing some In Flames moments while at times sounding like it could be a remixed version of the track. There are very few programmed drum sounds with the band seeming to prefer that natural tub thumping and keep the synths pure. While they’re often as cold as ice, the vocals are the biggest contrast to them in the mix and no disrespect to the producer but there is the sense that if they could have got Ulrich Wild for example, they could have got more. Changing tempo for a faster cut “As We Fall” lifts the album and drives straight into Evil Disco Hell. Creating the sound of an apocalyptic future with a driven sense of injustice, it’s a stand out cut that would have worked really well as the album opener. A classic horror film soundtrack song “End Of Times” returns to the standard tempo of the Cynical Existence sound with talk of the poison flooding through our veins making us weak. Some of its sparser musical moments build atmosphere and the tidal wave of wordy vocals paint pictures on those bare bones. In a band where the guitars are more part of the rhythm section, they add the much needed crunch.

Adding in some spoken word elements and some sparser vocal patterns gives the music a bit more space to breathe on “Wither Away” which talks of an apocalyptic future where the World has been destroyed by a virus. Whether it’s a metaphor for the break up of a relationship or humanity destroying the Earth, it is suitably hard hitting. The dull ache and meloncholy in “Cursed” has a claustrophobic sense of Mental anguish, clining to the edge of life. A sample injects the middle of the song with a point of difference while the gradual slow rather than fade allows for the faster start of “We Bleed”. More of a guitar driven track, it evokes thoughts of evil scientists conducing state funded medical experiments on people against their will [7/10]

Track listing

  1. No Way Out
  2. Nightmare
  3. Killing You
  4. Static
  5. Crawling Chaos
  6. As We Fall
  7. End Of Times
  8. Wither Away
  9. Cursed
  10. We Bleed

“Rebirth” by Cynical Existence is out now

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