Cynic - Traced In Air
It only took one album for Cynic to introduce itself into the consciousness of progressive minds, those listeners who considered their music of the thinking man's variety. Focus was something of a landmark, one across which many a band has found their path. All these years later and the band (3/4 of the original lineup) decides to pick up where they left off on Traced In Air. It should be seen as a valiant and noble attempt at re-energizing a style of music that's run stagnat in recent years, and a totally successful relaunching of a career most thought of as cut entirely too short.
Songs push the boundaries of progressive catchiness (and the boundaries of what we've come to expect from the Cynic monicker). Gone are almost all hints of the death metal you may have heard in their past work; what remains are all of the ecclectic, sci-fi elements in their playing; the atmospheric keys, the sudden bursts of hyperintensive riffage and the smooth pocket bass grooves that tie it all together. Vocals work in harmony as both cleansing and incendiary. You'll find much to love on "The Space For This", "Evolutionary Sleeper", "Integral Birth" (best of the bunch), and "King of Those Who Know".
While not the sort of impacting release that'll cement itself into history the way Focus was able to, Traced In Air is absolutely the best possible thing anyone could have expected from Cynic. After all these years, to hear a band not only still in-tune with what worked but so open and responsive to what might make it work better, it's quite astonishing. This album came along just a little too late to make most year-end lists, but it should've made mine. For the thinking man's musical fix, Cynic is your perfect drug.
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on 2009-08-17 MusicGuru Said:
Here we have an interesting metal band. Cynic plays a Jazzy Death Metal sound. The band members have a lot of talent in their respected instruments. When they released Focus, they were pretty much gods in the metal community because they added more depth to Death Metal. The lead singer, Paul Masvidal, started to use Vocoder vocals very commonly. Then this band broke up for fifteen years. Now, they came back to release a follow up to Focus. This album is Traced in Air. This album has a more polished sound than Focus and it doesn't really have many growls. Those are my only two big complaints about the album. This album seems to be Cynic and Aeon Spoke colliding together. When Cynic was broken up Paul Masvidal sang for a Art Rock band called Aeon Spoke. His vocal technique that he used in that band is now what he's doing for Cynic. He's putting more melody into his voice. He really does have a good voice. The drumming on this album is very spectacular. Sean Reinert has a lot of cool patterns. His drumming seems to take influence from his time with Gordian Knot. Paul Masvidal is a also a really good guitarist. He also isn't plagued with the disease of being a tech wanker like most Technical Death Metal guitarists. The one instrument that really shines is the bass work. Sean Malone is a monster with that instrument. Sometimes his bass work is buried in the mix, but that doesn't happen much. Anybody that likes this album should get the following bands: Gordian Knot, Aeon Spoke, Sean Malone's album Cortlandt.