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Cynic - Traced in Air CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.14 | 523 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Most metal bands, or even bands in general, that take an almost 15 year hiatus before coming back together to make a new album usually make one of inferior quality. That's what I had been afraid of when I heard Cynic got back together. I thought that there wasn't any way that they could hope to top the mind-blowing Focus, especially after such a long period of time. I was completely and 110% wrong. In fact, it proved me so wrong that this has gradually become my pick for album of the year in 2008. This is an album that I find myself coming back to three, four, five, and sometimes even more times every week, often multiple times in a day.

This album may not seem like a big deal to most proggers, especially since it only clocks in just over 34 minutes. However I think the length for this type of album is just right. It's a great mix of psychedelic-infused jazz fusion in a death metal setting with a touch of avant-garde. The vocals are about a 70-30 mix of clean singing and death growls respectively, which is definitely a good mix for this type of music. This is definitely a unique experience in metal. Like I said, while many of the songs are shorter, I think it helps to hold the listener's attention and feels more like the band was trying to cram 60 minutes worth of ideas into these songs. They are very, very complex jazz-fusion inspired death metal. Although while I think Focus concentrated more on the death metal and jazz aspects, this album focuses more on the psychedelic aspects of their music. Masvidal's lyrics still remain oddly soothing and beautiful, and at times almost like they were computer-generated. Kruidenier has excellent death growls which are used to great effect, even if at times it's fairly minimal. And Cynic also has one of the most accomplished rhythm sections in metal as far as I'm concerned in Malone and Reinert, even to the point where I'll sometimes go through this album just to listen to what the drums and bass are doing. The highlights for me are really tough picks, but in the end, the trio of The Space for This (with a nice spacey intro), Evolutionary Sleeper, and Integral Birth blows me away every time I listen to them.

If you enjoy metal, jazz fusion, psychedelic, or instrumental music and want something modern, complex, and wholly unique, then this should fit your tastes very well. Granted, it may take time to grow on some people in comparison to others, but it's an extremely enjoyable listen. 5 stars, and hopefully Cynic will write another album as good as this less than 15 years from now.

horsewithteeth11 | 5/5 |


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