Remembering Sean Reinert 1971 – 2020
In the last few years, we’ve sadly been getting used to seeing rock and metal musicians pass away at a seemingly higher rate than before. Though it absolutely sucks, the fact that the originators of the genre are pushing 70 inevitably means that it’s to be expected sooner or later. By no means am I trying to try to rank sadness or tell anyone their grief is less than, but after a certain age, death is a part of life. This is why it’s so hard for me to believe that Sean Reinert is gone. Just typing that still feels like a hypothetical.
I remember how floored I was listening to Human for the first time, and even more shortly afterwards when through that album I found Focus. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the standard for technical metal drumming would not be what it is today without players like Sean, who pushed the boundaries of exteme metal and explored new areas of genres that were beginning to stagnate. Saying this now is taken as a universal fact, but in the early 90s this genre fusion and experimentation went way over most people’s heads. Combined with the fact that they didn’t “look the death metal part”, both in terms of lyrics and presentation, Cynic were almost entirely ignored in the scene at the time, and it would be more than a decade after they disbanded in 1994 by the time a new generation of bands continued to build on their sound.
This news is made more bitter to me by the fact that there was internal drama back in 2015 which led to Reinert being somewhat unceremoniously ejected from the band. It’s sad that I never got the chance to see Sean perform with Cynic, so I can’t imagine what his friends and loved ones are going through right now.
Even though Cynic were musically lightyears beyond what Death was doing with Reinert and Masvidal in the fold, the precise tom patterns that start off “Flattening of Emotions” were the first I heard of Sean’s amazing drumming, and seeing him perform it alongside Masvidal and Steve DiGiorgio in 2014 was a very special moment for me.
Rest easy Sean, you will be greatly missed.
I will be forever grateful for Sean Reinert’s contribution to music. From Death‘s Human onward, he wasn’t just another a technically gifted player, he was a pioneer. He knew how to apply dynamics and pay respect to other culture’s rhythms with such elegance. He knew when go straight to brutality and when to switch to serve the music’s purpose.
I still remember my first listenings on ‘Flattening of Emotions’, the first track of Human, when I focused so hard to listen to that double bass pedal crescendo buried beneath the walls of solos; or the phenomenal and very sensitive complex rhythm experience in The Unknown Guest, at Cynic‘s Traced in Air. These exact moments clearly defined my musical journey as a listener, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Thank you so much, Sean.