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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 504 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A very good album that definitely changed the way extreme progressive metal was conceived in the 90's

Cynic's debut, entitled Focus, is to this day an important album for metal in general. Their unique usage of synthesizers (both vocal and normal synthesizers), keyboards and fusion twist in their music is obviously what brought attention to them, since it is quite rare to use such things in metal even today. However, besides the pioneering composing and usage of instruments in metal, there is a big problem that i just can't accept in an album as important as this one, and that problem is the vocals: although the synthesized vocals are very nice (making me remember King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man) the guttural vocals are somehow plain and shallow, something that definitely brings their music, in general, down, since the guttural vocals attract more attention then the synthesized vocals.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are some things i would like to state:

The instrumental work is, overall, very good. Both guitars make a very good and wide job: they sometimes have two rhythm guitars, sometimes the two play more melodically (i mean, both develop melodic lines or melodic themes instead of riff-to-riff themes) and sometimes one plays the rhythm guitar and the other is the soloist guitar. The bass work is also very competent, as it makes a very good base sound for the band, being the base or initial melody of the harmonic structure, supporting the guitars and the drums. The drums too make a very nice job: instead of simply signing the tempo, it is an instrument of its own, completing very well the whole band. The drum work reminds me a lot the drum work of Atheist: technical, complex, brutal and independent.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Although this album is one of the most important albums of the extreme progressive metal scene, i can't pick one song that truly stands out and the vocal problem just brings the album grade down, besides the exceptional instrumental work. So, because of that, the grade is 4 stars.

CCVP | 4/5 |


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