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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover

FOCUS

Cynic

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 404 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ProgBagel
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Cynic - 'Focus' 4.8 stars

A landmark release which contemporary jazz metal acts build on.

This album, in my opinion, is one of the most influential albums in history. This really put technical metal with jazz leanings on the map. To complete the demo group that roamed about for a few years, bass virtuoso Sean Malone replaces lesser bass virtuoso Tony Choy and Tony Teegarden takes over on vocals and adds keyboards to the band. The only member that isn't essential to the line-up would have to be Tony Teegarden. Paul Masvidal still does vocals, but makes a bold change. His backing vocals, are sung and not growled like his fellow band mate Teegarden, but they are computerized. This style caused a lot of controversy, but I think it is quite good. They remind me of a voice box, but a bit more subtle and digitalized. It was a unique thing; I think that warrants them even more credit.

The jazz and metal elements are weighted pretty evenly, with just a little extra on the metal side. There is no trash in the metal though; it is nice and technical with some shifting time signatures, obscure chords and scales. The guitars are combined perfectly in dealing with leads, rhythm and counterpoint. The solo's are just out of this world, some of the most technical on record but they just sound so restrained. Even when watching videos of the band live they make it look like it is nothing big. Sean Malone gives a huge bass performance, a style which seems like he playing rhythm, but it just sounds like a solo or lead take. Sean Reinert is once again giving his phenomenal drum work another shot.

Chaotic and subtle, this release is near perfect. Sometimes the riffs can get a tad boring, but all the solos are entertaining. I would recommend this to nearly anyone, who cares if it has death metal vocals.

ProgBagel | 4/5 |

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