Cynical Smile - _Stupas_
(Org, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (8 out of 10)
It is always pleasing when the talents you notice in a band when they are starting out are realized on their debut full length. This is certainly the case with Cynical Smile's debut record _Stupas_. Though less raw and marginally slower than their 1996 two track promo tape, _Stupas_ accurately reproduces much of the energy and songwriting ability which attracted me to this band when I first saw them perform live back in July 1996. A rich guitar sound and a tight rhythm section provide the backbone of Cynical Smile's powerful sound. Though not a million miles away from the standard crossover fare, the riffs and vocal passages are infectious and excellent at getting a groove going. What it really comes down to is that the music Cynical Smile produce is custom built for a live arena and that is where this material really comes to life. Songs like "Gunga Ding" and "Live 4", though bonafide crowd movers, are only good, as opposed to great, from CD and cannot match their live intensity. This is the case with most hardcore, in my view, and is certainly not a problem unique to Cynical Smile. I recommend this as a companion to the more intense live experience of these very decent mid-paced rap-metal/crossover tunes.

(article published 1/9/1998)

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