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Cynic - Traced In Air CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.12 | 489 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Traced in Air is a difficult album to describe. There are definite metal elements to Cynic's work on this album. However, the sound can hardly be described as brutal, dissonant, or heavy. Rather, Cynic combines large amounts jazz and atmospheric prog rock to their technical death/thrash metal to create an album that is beautifully etherial. The sound on this album is wonderful, and makes for a wonderful listen.

Probably the most prominent instrument is the guitar by Paul Masvidal. While sometimes having a standard metal crunch to it, a lot of the guitar on the album is rather melodic, with technical and quick paced string picking a large part of the sound. Also notable is the excellent drumming by Sean Reinert, and while technical playing is to be found all over the album, it matches the energy and atmosphere of the songs perfectly. What really makes the album unique though is the vocals. Most of the album is laden with high-pitched vocoder vocals, accenting the more melodic sound of the album. Metal fans may be slightly dissapointed to only find death growls buried behind the melodic ones, but they should recognize that the vocoder makes Traced In Air quite possibly one of the most unique- sounding metal albums of all time, and certainly within the last decade. This 'celestial metal' sound goes to show that there is still progression to be found in rock and metal, and Traced in Air certainly is progressive in the most literal sense of the word.

All the tracks stand out in one way or another. The opener "Nunc Fluens" is a short intro, with tribal rhythms and outstanding wailing vocals and technical guitar. The next three songs expand upon this sound wonderfully, though in slightly more standard song structure, rather than in an almost instrumental album opening form. Also notable is "King of Those Who Know", which starts off softly with quiet clean jazz chords and female vocals, and except for the album closer it is probably the softest song on the album. The final track "Nunc Stans" leaves the listener hungry for more, and with an album at the 30 minute length, prog and metal fans will most likely want more. This is probably the only negative aspect of the album, though it just goes to show how keeping an album shorter can bring out the best in the band.

In any event, Traced in Air is a killer album. Metal fans need to get it, as do any prog fans, since it is a wonderful show of technicality, atmosphere, melody, heaviness, and energy.

topofsm | 4/5 |


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