C O L U M N S

Featured Demo

Cinder - Demo (2003)

By: Teddy Lovell
Published: Sunday, May 25, 2003
Cinder - 2003 Demo

Tracklisting
1. Fake
2. Hollow Place
3. Eden Slave
4. Day in the Life
5. Signs of Life
6. Serenity
7. Caged
8. Inspector G
9. Bound

The Band
Ben Humphrey - Singer, Lead Guitarist
Russell Ford - Drummer
Tom Gwyther - Keyboard
Paul Dymott - Bass

Links
Band Website

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.

"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 just me.

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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