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Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.98 | 111 ratings

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3 stars Cynic finds themselves amidst the chilling fringes of space.

Ever since their critically acclaimed debut album, Focus, Cynic has continued to change their sound and step away from their death-metal roots. Of course, Traced In Air still had some of these metal footholds, and the songwriting was just as complex and filled with signature hooks. Carbon-Based Anatomy takes this approach to another level. Here, we find Cynic focusing on atmosphere in a very compelling and accessible manner. The music found on this EP is by far their most tame and illustrates the many scenes we dream of far above our skies.

Carbon-Based Anatomy, Box Up My Bones and Elves Beam Out are the real songs here. The title track is the real centerpiece here, and one of Cynic's best tracks to date. Reinert and Malone lock into an intense momentum. Masvidal gives his best vocal performance on the album - the lonely, disconnection of the singing is somehow also warm and caring. A killer guitar solo and a more lush vocal arrangement makes the finale. The growls are completely absent on this album, but throughout the album we're instead given real eerie harmonies and Paul's stripped down vocals - really changing the communication of lyrics. The changes in vocals are most apparent in Box Up My Bones. A guitar ushers in the harmonies and Reinert's crashing drum grooves. This song has one hell of a catchy chorus with more submerged guitar leads adding to that galatic vibe i get from this album. Finally, Elves Beam Out brings the most supernatural groove with Reinert's strangely produced drum work and the heavy-hitting guitar moving lines. Again, whenever the harmonies and sparse lead sections pop out the song becomes very lush, dense, and beautiful.

The other half of them are interludes that are utilized to make the atmosphere on this release more immersive. The album begins with the beautiful Admist the Coals, a song featuring the voice of Amy Correia, sung in the style similar to Sigur Ros. Similar to the post- rock titans the song is very open, captivating, and emotive in delivery. The second piece of this style is Bija!, found after the EP's title track. Bija! is the lowest point on this EP and for me, really ruins Carbon's sense of flow. The piece alone isn't so bad, strongly Indian influenced with sitar playing and percussion accompanied with hush vocal harmonies. The problem with Bija! is the break of the spacey style that is prevalent on the rest of the album and the lack of a real Cynic touch on the track. Finally, the album exits with Hieroglyph. Crumbling drone with post-rock swells brings you to the soft, poetic narrative of Amy that fades into the last note of the album.

Cynic really has something here. The production is great on this record and the band is tight with their new sound that should appeal to old fans and newcomers. While these songs don't have big moments that just blow me away, it's a good release that could lead to interesting things to come.

Horizons | 3/5 |


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