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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 582 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This is an absolute classic album in the realm of Death Metal and I would say essential to any Progressive Death Metal collection. More adventurous fans of Jazz/Rock Fusion may find the album interesting as well if they can see through the surface cloud of noise and aren't bothered by the extremity of the vocals.

The fretless bass of Sean Malone is one of the greatest aspects of Cynic... it is always bubbling and violently churning beneath the caustic surface of acidic guitars like a river of flowing lava. During the quieter bits the bass really stands out and takes the spotlight.

The guitars remind me of the band 'Death' mixed with the spirit of 'King Crimson' and 'Mahavishnu Orchestra'... and that would be a good way to describe their music in general I think. Complex rhythmic palm-muted riffing drive most of the songs forward, but there are many nice guitar leads and quieter atmospheric moments as well which utilize complex jazz chords and clean arpreggios. A calm hypnotic mood is induced by the guitars, even when the songs are at their most frenetic and cacophonic. The songwriting is top-notch and seems very Jazz influenced.

'Veil of Maya' is a stand-out track full of excellent bass lines and pummeling, tom-heavy, almost-tribal rhythms played by Sean Reinert who's drumming style is a hybrid of Jazz Fusion and Death Metal. The Industrial-like vocoded vocals are excellent here and add a very unique futuristic atmosphere to this entire album and create an interesting juxtaposition to the screamed Death-like vocals.

'Celestial Voyage' is probably my favorite track on the disc. It features complex rhythms and the best guitar riffs on the entire album... interesting how subtle and soothing they come across even with with full Metal distortion. The clean guitars create a sad melancholy feeling that sticks with you even after the music stops. The music of Cynic can deeply touch the soul.

The album has an excellent flow and never gets dull thanks to the myriad riffs and themes explored in each song, as well as the contrast between the harsh and mellow sections. I have no problem declaring this album a masterpiece of progressive music. Brilliant! 5 stars!

AdamHearst | 5/5 |


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