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Cynic - Re-traced CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.90 | 88 ratings

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5 stars 'Under every good song is a great one'. That's what an old mentor of mine once told me and he was never more right about something than when he made that statement and Cynic's Re-Traced EP of reworked songs from the 2010 album Traced in Air is the proof. The EP features four songs from TIA and one new composition and is stripped of the bombastic assault found on TIA in that heavy guitars, tech metal drumming and growls are almost completely absent. Paul Masvidal still employs Vocoder effects but they are at a minimum and are only really noticeable on one song.

Starting with TIA's opener The Space For This you are hit immidiately with morse code ryhthms of acoustic and electric drums as well as light stacato guitar ryhthms before Masvidal's ethereal vocal starts it's spell. This time around Tymon (not doing growls for this EP as the band have dispensed with them) helps out Masvidal with spooky waves of percussion like synths and strange space travel synth swirls that sound far from cliched or dated. Indeed, the synths no longer sound like thay belong to a '80's new wave band like the way they did on the Portal album. The future is finally here. Masvidal is one of those lyricists that takes you on an interior journey as the music takes you through the far reaches of space. The song also features a brief bizzare time changing middle section as synths, drums, bass and vocals slow down to a swirling warped speed waltz before resuming the voyage to the beyond.

What's instantely recognizable is the beautiful melody of the song and the mystical lyrics, two things that seemed to get over looked on TIA as everything but the kitchen sink was thrown into the sound mix. Next up is a cover of Evolutionary that is more stripped down in appearence but is actually quite layed with guitars, more staight up rock drumming from Reinert and heavy fretless bass grooves from guest player Robin Zielhorst (Sean Malone was absent for outing but will re-appear on the band's next EP). Evolutionary also displays a great melody, beautiful yearning vocals from Masvidal and is another stunning re-interpretation. King is reshaped with jazz and it's remarkable how sympathetic drummer Sean Reinert is to this material as he has a wonderful sense of swing and really drives the song home. The last of the reshaped tracks, Intergral, is just Masvidal singing with only his acoustic guitar, light synth, organ and guest Amy Corria helping with harmony vocals as accompaniment. This song is the album's low point as it is just a bit too plaintive and the mystical lyrics (about reincarnation?) are lost on me. The final song, Wheels Within Wheels, is a new track that features shuddering bass from Zielhorst, great ryhthm and lead work from Masvidal and Tymon with Reinert back to his old power house technical self. The song could sit easily on 2014's Kindly Bent To Free Us and is an equal to the best songs from that album. Cynic is a band that claims to keep tunes and ideas in their pockets for a long time as they mull over the material. Perhaps this was the beginning of the Kindly Bent To Free Us material. Re-Traced is a bit of tease as it fades out after 25 minutes but it's an excellent opener for the group's next EP, the stellar Carbon Based Anatomy that was released in 2011. It's true, sometimes good songs just get better. As Re-Traced is another short EP by the band, I feel that 4.5 stars is a fair rating. Imagine if they remade the entire TIA album. That would have been 5 stars easily!

SteveG | 5/5 |


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