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CYNIC’S PAUL MASVIDAL IS HELPFUL

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I think we’ve all had a night or two out partying when that step was taken over the line between “appropriately intoxicated” and “scary fucked-up.” You’re not barfing, passed-out, or otherwise blissfully unaware — that’d be preferable to the creeping terror that descends on you when some switch is thrown in your brain and suddenly, blam-o, fun is a distant memory and life is totally incomprehensible and overwhelming.

The room you’re in is moving but it’s not, and you’ve been listening to your friend describe Reagan’s atrocities in Central America but actually the speaker is some bearded pervert who took your friend’s seat ages ago. You scramble to your feet, blurting, “I have no friends with beards!” but freeze when you see that this room has no door! You coolly plead for help from Jimi Hendrix, who’s kneeling inanimate at waist height, but then he swings out of sight and is replaced by your long-lost friend, who is demanding to know why you were arguing with the door. You try to explain that the Jimi Hendrix door poster is being a wise-ass, but it comes out in all vowels and, Jesus tap-dancing Christ, the place is turning into a real carnival of horrors now. In the kitchen, somebody’s fucking a horse to “New Sensation” by INXS and all you want to do is get out the door, lay down somewhere quiet, and pinpoint which of all the things you’ve blindly smoked has turned you into Ozzy for the night.

And that’s how you end up asleep between two dumpsters.

But we’re jumping ahead. First, there’s a long, sweaty road out of over-partying and into sleep. The first step is valium, but you might find that calm comes quickly via techniques of Emergency Meditation. It involves focusing the mind on something unaggressive and unchallenging. Think of it as giving the mind something to do, so it does not push itself to the edge of panic with thoughts of oh, say, Aussie horse-fucking. E.g. Once, on the last train, I imagined myself installing each seat and railing; it worked and I made it home to freak out in privacy. You get the picture.

Then one night, I had a major breakthrough when I combatted mega-highness by listening to Cynic’s Focus and Traced In Air. That shit is just made to comfort and occupy the racing mind. Part of that is guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal, who exudes chill. The other part is the soft complexity of Cynic’s music, which assigns tasks of perception to both the conscious and subconscious. That’s the nerdiest sentence ever, but, goddamnit, the point is whether you’re way fucked up or merely tense, my advice is to listen to Paul Masvidal’s music.

And, hey, you can listen to Paul Masvidal’s words now that he’s MetalSucks’ newest celebrity guest blogger. (Which we all agree brings his career full circle.) The bastard is even awesome at writing, and it took all of ten minutes for him to advance my recovery from the shock of Peter Steele’s death with a thoughtful, diverting column on Wednesday. Read and re-read it here. And then congratulate me in the comments for somehow becoming Paul Masvidal’s co-worker.

– ADF

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