26 Years Ago: CYNIC release Focus (studio footage)

Daily Noise - / 2019

26 Years Ago: CYNIC release Focus (studio footage)

By the time we were writing and recording “Focus” we were no longer listening to much death metal. We were exploring all different styles of music and it was coming through in the music we wrote. We didn’t hold ourselves to any musical standards. It didn’t have to be all metal. So we just wrote what we wanted, we contributed all kinds of ideas/rhythms; heavy, soft, odd metered, classical, jazzy, melodic etc. It didn’t matter as long as it was good, if it wasn’t good enough we voted on the idea and most of them were thrown out. We threw away more rhythms and ideas than were on “Focus” to make “Focus”.

Jason Gobel / Cynic interview, Tough Riffs, 2017

CYNIC signed to Roadrunner in 1991 but work on their debut album Focus would need to wait. Vocalist / guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert joined DEATH in 1991 to record the landmark Human and tour in support of the album.

I don't think my work with DEATH influenced CYNIC very much. I think the touring and session work helped me feel comfortable with those aspects now. I think everything we do to better ourselves helps us grow as a band. Music theory is another avenue to better understand what we can do. Music is a language, it's like English, very involved and academic. As far as we're concerned when you understand the language you have more of a vocabulary to work with. It makes our music multidimensional we can incorporate more.

...We don't hear ourselves as being necessarily progressive or technical. We just write music. What comes out, comes out and nothing is intentional. We may be the modern new wave, on the edge of something new. I think Atheist and us have been exploring this new genre, as well as others. Experimenting is the key.

Cynic interview, Inner Source #3, 1994

The band intended to record their album after returning from the DEATH tour, but in August 1992 one of the most destructive storms to hit Florida arrived, destroying their rehearsal space and the home of guitarist Jason Gobel.

Hurricane Andrew news coverage, 1992

Recovering from the damage took months, which gave the band time to work on their material. The result is a sound quite different to their previous demos, even the 1991 demo recorded for Roadrunner.

...when we finished the Death tour and finished all the things that we were doing and went home to record our next record... I mean, when recording Focus we had one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the United States wipe out our whole town: Hurricane Andrew (1992). Which literally levelled Jason Gobel's home, our rehearsal studio was flooded. So all these things kind of arose. And that was the big one, which was really a blessing in disguise because we ended up having a bunch of time to practise more and develop the songs more. It took another year to get the record out, which was kind of great.

Paul Masvidal / Cynic interview, Metal Storm, 2007
Cynic in studio, "Uroboric Forms" rhythm track

Eventually CYNIC re-entered Morrisound to record their classic. Just over a year after the hurricane Focus was released, on this day in 1993.

Sean Reinert recording drums for "Sentiment"
Cynic in studio, "Uroboric Forms" drum track