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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover

FOCUS

Cynic

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 410 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FruMp
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Jazz Fusion Death Metal.

CYNIC is one of a handful of revolutionary bands that have ever managed to successfully merge jazz fusion and extreme metal and this is perhaps one of the purest amalgams of these genres with a psychedelic twist to boot. Focus is an album of differing extremes, the music is very well layered and structured with clean guitars interspersed with distorted metallic guitars, in perfect relevant contrast, vocodered robotic vocals and choruses to counter the death growls (the vocoder vocals are generally a point of contention and take a long time took me a long time to get used to) and technical double kick driven beats contrasted by groovy jazz beats.

The opening song 'Veil of Maya' is easily the best on the album invoking dark reverent atmospheres with it's opposing double kick driven verse and dreamy chorus, the use of complex jazz chords is the key to the complex emotive components of the song - these guys really know how to write a song. Instrumental song 'Textures' is another fantastic song with some dreamy jazz fusion noodling periodically broken up by heavily distorted and harmonised guitars and the mystical middle breakdown section is to die for with an amazing bass solo. The album ends on a strong point with the the triumphant 'How could I' with my favourite guitar solo on the album. Another superb song that is only featured on the 2004 reissue is the song 'Cosmos' (written under the PORTAL band name - a post CYNIC project by some of the members) with dreamy phased guitars washing around in a textured psychedelic blanket.

The instrumentation on this album is fantastic, all the musicians are of the highest calibre. The guitars are fairly technical and have many nuances and the solos are quite fast but at the same time extremely musical, The bass is very fat and there are a few great sections and the odd solo and the drums are the best of the lot, very technical and well considered (It is worth noting that lead guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert played on Death's highly technical and neck-breaking death metal release 'Human' just prior to recording Focus giving you an indication of their technical proficiency).

Focus is one of the most creative and interesting extreme metal records ever recorded and is essential to anyone serious about progressive metal, fans of ATHEIST and PESTILENCE would definitely enjoy.

FruMp | 5/5 |

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