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The Portal Tapes CD

Price: £19.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Mar. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Season Of Mist
  • ASIN: B0072C79OO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,977 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Costa on 4 April 2012
Format: Audio CD
Portal was founded right after Cynic's untimely split-up in 1994. The Los Angeles-based quintet released a 10-track demo back in 1995, then disbanded in the following year. Resurrected Cynic has now reissued that tape under their moniker and the title of "The Portal Tapes" via French record label Season of Mist. It features such gems as "Endless Endeavors," "Cosmos," "Circle" (these three songs were included as bonus tracks in the "Focus" reissue of 2004), and "Costumed in Grace," all showcasing the band's hybrid progressive/jazz/pop rock approach. Female singer Aruna Abrams, who shares vocal duties with guitarist and founding member Paul Masvidal, contributes a beautifully ethereal aura to all compositions, making this album a must have for all Cynic fans, although it's worth noting that not a single trace of (progressive) death metal is to be found therein. Last but not least, "The Portal Tapes" boasts an outstanding cover artwork by the late Robert Venosa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wismerhill on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A long overdue release of an album recorded by members of Cynic (under the name 'Portal'), some time after their gound-breaking 1993 'Focus'. Definitely a must-have for any prog fan out there!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Be warned first! 6 April 2012
By Bradford A. Harkness - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Be warned, this is not really "Cynic" proper, it is the side project they had after Focus was recorded and released. It is comprised of the members of Cynic, Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal and includes Chris Kringel, Jason Gobel and features vocalist Aruna Abrams. If you saw that it was demo stuff recorded in 94/95 and are expecting "Focus 2" you will not get what you are expecting.

That all being said, I knew of the group from way back when but never heard anything from them until now and I am glad I bought the CD. It is different sounding but you can tell the influence from the Cynic members is quite strong, and Aruna and Paul have some great vocal parts, she has quite a voice. This album clearly shows the direction Cynic ended up taking with albums like traced in Air and especially Retraced and Carbon Based Anatomy. If you are familiar with the other projects of the two main members (Sean and Paul) like Aeon Spoke and Gordian Knot you know they don't make one type of music even within the same band monicker; instead they branch out and expand sound and styles into a unique mix of their own.

It is unfortunate that it took so long for this material to see the light of day, but given that it was created so long ago it is amazing how new it sounds even today; if you told me this was a brand new band and album I would believe it and be just as in to them as I have been Cynic, Death, Autumn's Gray and other bands.

I suggest this for anyone who likes the recent works of Cynic, ever since I got this it has been the only CD in my car (well, briefly I had to hear Behemoth's "Slave shall serve") and Tracks 2, 3 and 5 are my favorites. I will say that some of the lyrics at times are borderline cheesy to me but they work so well with the music it is easy to just hear sound and not focus on the language. I hope to see more of these folk's music soon, I had to wait so long for cynic to come back around (glad they did, live shows melt your brain) and maybe this is a sign they will start up again.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Softer Side of Cynic 1 Jun. 2012
By J. Hill - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Portal Tapes is an album-length collection of demos, limited to 5,000 copies, from Portal, a project involving several Cynic musicians who recorded together after the release of Focus. It blends a progression of Cynic's experimental passages from Focus with the entrancing vocals of Aruna Abrams. Her delicate, airy singing fits the ethereal quality of the music and creates a New Age light rock vibe that's far more compelling than that description conveys. I'm generally a metal fan, so Cynic has always fit in on the lighter side of my tastes, and these songs take those elements of their sound to a whole different level. Predominantly clean, acoustic guitars, pianos, keyboards, prominent female vocals, a complete absence of aggressive vocals ...even for a band like Cynic, Portal was an opportunity to expand and explore. Listening to their recent output, Traced In Air and Carbon-Based Anatomy, I think they used qualities of Portal in evolving the sound of Cynic, which I don't see as a bad thing. If you sometimes find yourself needing music with a soft touch, but with slight traces of metal roots, this might hit the spot. All of the musicians involved have an incredible knack for creating beautiful melodies that seem to originate somewhere deep in space and somehow find their way to Earth. The music creates an intriguing world of its own, and Abrams should enchant most listeners with her whispery, seductive vocal style. I'm glad Cynic found a place in their discography for these demos. They're different, but that's always been my main attraction to this band anyway.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Damnation 26 April 2013
By Nick - Published on
Think Cynic's version of Damnation by Opeth. With the addition of a woman's voice. Traced in Air, without the heavy parts. It's really good.
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