Cinder - Demo (2003)
By: Teddy Lovell
Published: Sunday, May 25, 2003
|Cinder - 2003 Demo
2. Hollow Place
3. Eden Slave
4. Day in the Life
5. Signs of Life
8. Inspector G
Ben Humphrey - Singer, Lead Guitarist
Russell Ford - Drummer
Tom Gwyther - Keyboard
Paul Dymott - Bass
From across the Atlantic we got a disc from the U.K. band Cinder, not to be confused
with the American Nu Metal band Cinder. Since the names are the same, we expected the
metal cd, but the folks from the other side of the ocean were nice enough to mail us their
demo, so we thought we'd review it.
[Other Maximum Metal Columns]
"Fake" opens the 9-song demo and it's a good pseudo-punk ditty about the
standard pop drivel that mucks up modern radio. It's catchy, hook-driven and ironically,
very radio friendly. It's sure to be hit anywhere cause it's too clever not to be.
"Fake" is a solid opener, but it also fools you into thinking you're in for a
Green Day/Sum 41 type cd and I don't believe that crowd would be into the next half dozen
which are primarily slower numbers. I'm glad it wasn't a punkish cd, but maybe with the
wind up that it generated, it shouldn't be the first song. The tracks that follow are
fairly different. At times, you could compare their sound to bands like Fuel, Collective
Soul, and Good Charlotte.
The second track "Hollow Places" has some strong vocals by frontman Ben Humphrey
and it works great with the Steve Miller-ish opening piano. Some guitar parts are in
there, but they really aren't needed. I kept waiting for drummer Russell "Foody"
Ford to bring the noise on the drums, but it never happened. One interesting thing about
this song that I personally heard, seemed to be just a hint of a ska sound?! Maybe its
Moving ahead to "Day in the Life". Simply stated, I think this song could
possibly be a success done as a straight accoustic song. Good vocals that tell a story,
but, again, on a personal note, I'd like to hear it unplugged without all the electric.
The 5th track "Signs" finally seemed to be mixed better so that you begin to
hear the drums and bassist Paul Dymott is featured more. "Signs" drew my mind's
eye open a little wider and peaked my interest in the band. It also led me to believe that
if the demo had been mixed better, the songs would have a stronger, more balanced feel.
Although they tend to weigh the middle of the demo down with overly-introspective,
"woe-is-me" lyrics, the slower tunes are well-played with good instrumentation
and nice piano work by Tom Gwyther that keeps them from slipping into the sappiness of
most ballads. "Eden Slave" is Sabbathy, yet heartfelt and "Signs of
Life" is fairly Rush/Iron Maiden-lite sounding with hit potential.
The vocals are probably a bit too accented for an American audience, plus lack in power.
There's little or no harmonization or back up vocals heard on the tracks, but I expect
that a tight recording budget was the reason. Also, the band needs better production to
tighten up the songs and get a cleaner sound. Overall, with good direction I think that
Cinder can set itself apart from the three-chord dreck that's out there
polluting the airwaves and find moderate success.
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