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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 503 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars "Sometimes you just burn out on material and we have toured Focus quite a bit. It does have a history and it obviously had an impact as an album, but at some point you do have to move on. With another album under our belts we'll have enough material to really give people a whole body of new material to focus on instead of the past. But I enjoy Focus and to me it does seem like a record that represented something for us that was really honest. And I think it was a solid album, so it's cool that it got some recognition." - Paul Masvidal for

This album was the fate of a band after a giant disaster. Cynic plans to record their debut, Focus, were annihilated by the Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The hurricane destroyed the band's rehearsal place and Jason Gobel's home. Restarting from zero, Cynic was able to write new material, and the results were altogether within Focus, finally released September 14, 1993. The project features Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, both members of the band Death at their technical death metal album, Human. Cynic has a technical death metal sounding too, and Focus, one of the pioneers of technical death albums, will show you that this genre was more influenced by jazz fusion than any kind of brutal metal stuff. This album has both growls and robotic vocals using a vocoder. The exotic and space atmospherics are present in lyrics as much as in music. By the way, awesome use of the Chapman Stick.

Veil of Maya is the opening track, bringing a monumental songwriting, mixing the sci-fi feeling with death metal, jazzy technical drums and fretless bass. Jason Gobel and Paul Masvidal guitar works completes each other. The song has some smoothy jazz breaks, and the guitar solos are highlights not only here, but the whole album. Celestial Voyage is some kind of heavy space rock. The song is absurdly detailed, every instrument was used to the maximum. The effects and robotic vocalizations together with harsh screams at The Eagle Nature fits perfect at some melodic passages. I like the slow parts of the song, mainly the ending. The drums are so outstanding that if you listen to this album once, you need to listen an additional time only paying attention on the drums. Sentiment, the fourth track, has strange vocals. This song is very different from the previous ones, very progressive too, but the main track isn't heavy. It has an exotic and misterious feeling. It's very interesting the progressive way of Cynic's music. Tempo changes and variations between clean and distorted are everywhere. Even the most extreme passages are harmonious, and it's possible notice some contrasting beautiful effects while the technical explosion is happening. The next track is called I'm But A Wave To..., and it's very melodic, including catchy growls, incredible progressions and expert musician skills. It starts with some water sounbank and a mood for a thriller, following agressive technical death metal soundscape. This song constantly changes the direction in a very expert way during some guitar solos and riffs (2:28" - 3:15"), too much complex. Uroboric Forms is very complex too, but the double bass syndrome was a weak point here, in my opinion. Textures is a technical fusion moment, clean guitars drowned in chorus and beautiful melodies, brilliant riffs under outstanding drums and bass. Dat asskicking guitar feeling and mood changes. The bass solo is a highlight of the track, I really like it. The song has a short string solo ending, just like the very beggining of the track. The grand finale, How Could I, is the great surprise. After a 5/5 album, you finally reaches the final track, and this one is actually better than anything! An explosive technical riffage after an electronic based intro. Growls and robotic vocals again. The bass line, the drums, the guitars, the whole stuff, provides an epic ending to this precious album.

If you still haven't tried Cynic because of the "boring" robotic vocals or agressive growls, it's time to get into Exivious, a Cynic instrumental spin-off.

VOTOMS | 5/5 |


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