The recent passing of legendary drummer Sean Reinert at the untimely age of 48 has left a deep hole in the Metal community, and a few of the guys here decided they wanted to say at least something, so with deepest condolences to his family and friends, we say farewell to one of the true greats..
2020 has been a bad year for legendary drummers, and we’re not even past the first month yet. First Rush’s drumming & lyrical powerhouse Neil Peart was taken from us, the shockwave of which is still being felt by the Rock/Metal community. And now, we have deal with the sudden passing of ex-Cynic/ex-Death drummer Sean Reinert, who much like Neil Peart, had legions of fans outside of just drumming circles. Sean’s talent behind the kit was so evident, that everyone acknowledged it, even if you weren’t a fan of Cynic. Some would even call him the Neil Peart of progressive metal.
The best compliment I can say about Sean’s drumming is this: You know that part in Cynic’s immortal jazz odyssey, “Textures”, at 0:56 where the drumming explodes into awesomeness? If you listen to other bands attempt to cover that song, it quickly becomes apparent that NO ONE can replicate what Sean did right there. Like, not even close. The rest of the song is hard enough, but that part? My God…Nobody but Sean could play that part with such finesse and nuance.
I’m keeping this short and sweet, I’ll let the others with a better way with words say more. Rest In Power, Sean Reinert. Thank you for all the great music, and for pushing the envelope for Progressive Metal drumming.
My first contact to Sean Reinert’s drumming was the music video for “Lack of Comprehension” by Death. There’s this tiny bit where you can see the drummer doing his thing from upper camera angle, where he plays cymbals with both hands during an intensive double kick drum beat. “Whoa… What the hell?!?” I had never seen anything like that before. In the early / mid-90’s there was no YouTube, or extensive drumming videos for Extreme Metal, so that wee bit of audiovisuals simply blew my mind. Had to rewind the VHS several times to see it actually happen.
And it was not only the fancy camera angle that shone on that particular record. Death’s “Human” is as close as you can get to a perfect Death Metal record in my books as it is humanly (hehe!) possible. It has the best cover art of their careers, best tunes and yes – the best drumming too! Despite the super talented people that laid drums to future Death albums, Sean Reinert had more heart and soul in his drumming than Gene Hoglan had, and more precision and control than Richard Christy on last Death album “The Sound of Perseverance.” I could listen to “Human” every day and never get bored of it. Sean (along with the rest of the crew on that record) carved his name to our hearts on that very album for eternity.
After Death was the re-activated Cynic. As a huge fan of Death, I was obliged to check them out as well. Their debut album “Focus” displays the marvellous musical chemistry of the band’s prime trio – Paul Masvidal, Sean Malone and Sean Reinert. Even though many see the album as a milestone of Progressive Extreme Metal (which it undoubtedly is too) that album was really not that different to me, back in the day. Somehow, all the Extreme Metal bands of that era seemed to have their own identity anyways and Cynic was doing… well, the robot thing. What really made a difference was the fact that “Focus” was as close to ‘beautiful’ as Extreme Metal could simply get. It had the flawless musicianship and genius songwriting of 1970’s prog bands, combined with the sound of the Extreme Metal phenomenon of early 1990’s Florida. Timeless!
Somehow, after the recent tragic events, I’m happy that Cynic left us on a high note. Their last album featuring Sean Reinert (who departed the band in 2015), “Kindly Bent to Free Us”, is a marvellous piece of Progressive Rock. You cannot call it Extreme Metal by any means, but it does not mean it would not be phenomenal. To me that particular record is one of the very best ones released in the previous decade and if you choose to miss it for some Extreme Metal pigheadedness, the fault is completely yours and yours alone. Not Cynic‘s, who are in damn exceptional shape on that very record. And so is Sean Reinert too. Lots of soul, precision and intelligence, like always when he sat behind the kit.
I got into the Cynic after hearing their comeback album “Traced in Air” in 2008. I most probably illegally downloaded it due to having a limited pocket money and also this was before the age of streaming. When I moved to Europe later I managed to catch the band live on tour in support of the album and met Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert at their merch stall post their set. It was the highlight of my weekend!
I went on the check out “Focus” and found it to be a contrast compared to “Traced in Air.” My quest to find more music by the members led me to Aeon Spoke which was as far from Metal as possible. I also discovered that Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert performed on the Death album, “Human.” One can easily conclude that Sean Reinert was a versatile musician. As a non musician, I was amazed at his skill and also athleticism.
The influence his playing on “Human” and “Focus” had on drummers is undeniable and left a lasting impact on Metalheads around the world. I am glad we had the chance to witness his talent. Thank you for the music, Sean Reinert.
Sean Reinert, 27/5/1971 – 24/1/2020. R.I.P.