Cinis – Subterranean Antiquity

Death metal, how does it survive?  Why do we ask that question is likely your own question right now, but it’s quite easy to answer.  We ask because the number of similar bands out there is astounding, at times, and it grows every month.  But if they’re all so similar, how can that be?  Well, part of it is, of course, the rabid fan base surrounding it ready to take a bite of the next thing with a dripping-viscera logo, grotesque artwork, the band name fashioned from the finest of medical dictionaries while the music…is redundant.  Why does redundancy sell so well?  It’s a question we’ve long pondered over, one that likely has no answer, though it might be more obvious than we think.  Perhaps it’s simply because there’s always a new generation looking to socially rebel, and death metal being the powerful symbol of rebellion that it is, well there’s always going to be someone new to listen to something new and only later say “jeez, these guys sound like these guys, who sound like these guys, who got some ideas from these guys, who were a splinter group from these guys, who have members from this band here that actually started in the 1980s.”  Phew.  As the chain goes further and further, and ideas become more diffuse, it just becomes difficult to single out anything as “good”, so perhaps the other issue is we simply let it be as it may and accept it as-is because there’s too much work involved otherwise.


But sadly this approach, the approach of the non-critic, generally, avoids the issue and simply accepts the fate of death metal of all forms.  “Ah, it will always be around, just accept what you find and enjoy it,” they say.  Not around here, we’re always looking for the most unusual, and when we’re not looking for that we’re looking for the best, and in this day of “I can make music too please buy it on Bandcamp” it’s becoming more and more a skill of professionals to dig through the bargain bin to find that one treasure below that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.  We understand, it’s not so easy, but if you don’t try it now and then, you might miss a band like Cinis.  Cinis come from Poland, and we’ve received a number of things from that region recently, which isn’t a surprise since Polish death metal has been on the rise in the past decade, largely because of bigger bands in metal such as Behemoth or Vader.  In this wave of power comes Cinis, back from a six-year hiatus.


The name itself refers to ashes, especially those of a ruined city, and the band must be first understood on one fact: do not expect to be surprised.  The layout, the lyrics, the song titles, the techno-decay artwork, hell even the band photo is what you expect and with the obscure metal to Cannibal Corpse ratio balanced.  So on the surface they’re entirely the usual, and when you start to listen it’s further verified.  Technical death metal often has that “ruined technology” theme going for it, in fact we commented on this not so long ago.  Sometimes you even wonder why bands like this bother printing out their lyrics, because you’ve read it all before, and why not save some paper to lower production costs?  So why in the hell are we even reviewing Subterranean Antiquity if we spent this much time basically bashing typical death metal and still haven’t commented on the actual music?  Simple, though appearances are clear here, Cinis is absolutely stellar.  You’re not here to be amazed by the unique, you’re here to be amazed by complete command of the typical to the point of absolute mastery.  Subterranean Antiquity, from the beginning the intro sets the mood, delivers endless servings of riff and complexity, but somehow manages to do so while being straightforward.  Simply put, it’s simply excels in simplicity.  If any complaint could be made, it’s that Cinis looks like everything else you’ve seen, they just play a hell of a lot better than basically anyone.  It might be to their advantage to take a different thematic approach in the future, but by ye gods never, ever lose this playing style and ability, seriously.  This is a perfect example of how the common can be done as the spectacular.  If you’re looking to channel your rage with something new and unknown, start here.


Cinis Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Cinis: Subterranean Antiquity
Murdher Records, Old Temple
4.6 / 5