Cynic is, in my opinion, one of the great metal bands of all time, and their 1993 album Focus is one of the top five metal albums ever recorded. This song, “Veil of Maya,” is the opening track on that album. I was hooked the very first moment I heard this song back in the 90s and my love for the whole album has never dimmed in the two decades since.

Cynic was (is) one of the great innovators in heavy metal, bringing jazz fusion and death metal together. Two of its members, Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, had previously played with Death, one of the pioneering bands in the field of death metal. When Reinert, Masvidal, Sean Malone and Jason Gobel came together in a Florida garage to record the music they’d been planning for some time, nature intervened. It was August 1992 and Hurricane Andrew preempted the recording session–by the unsubtle tactic of destroying Jason Gobel’s house. The band eventually got together a few months later, and this song is one of the things that happened.

After the groundbreaking release of Focus and a tour to support it, Cynic broke up in 1994. It looked for a long time like it was going to stay broken up permanently, but the band managed a reunion in 2007, and in fact I saw them play at Wacken Open Air in 2008. Unfortunately I think the magic was gone. Their new stuff just doesn’t sizzle the way Focus did. Whatever was cooking down in Florida in 1993, it’s history now.

Still, the song is amazing. Enjoy it, and Shabbat Shalom.