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Cynic - Traced In Air CD (album) cover

TRACED IN AIR

Cynic

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.13 | 403 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Isa
Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C+| A great revival for Cynic.

It's easy to be suspicious of bands that get back together after a long period of being disbanded, for as others have pointed out, the output is almost always dreadful. But with Traced in Air we do in fact have a quality release from a band that has been disbanded for around decade and a half, then out of the blue reunites, produces an album, and even goes on tour for it. I wouldn't be all too surprised if this album has become so popular just because it far surpassed most peoples' expectations.

For anyone who doesn't already know, Cynic is a band that blends speedy death metal with fusion, the heavier parts being the former and the softer parts having qualities of the latter. They use many effects in their music in many ways, especially with the vocals and guitars. Their debut album Focus is considered by many extreme metal fans, especially on the artistic side, to be a staple of more intellectualized death metal, up to par with later Death and Atheist. The musicians certainly hold nothing back in showing off their musicianship, and not for the sake of itself, but for the sake of creating great music, which itself makes me have great respect for this band overall.

Also let it be noted that my rating comes more from my personal taste regarding the album. Objectively, this is a highly polished album, very few if any awkward spots, and well thought out writing and production overall. The best track is by far the second one, The Space for This, which in my mind is an instant classic of extreme metal. The other tracks, however, were not nearly as thrilling for me, though each had come very good sections. Had they all been as great as that second track, this album would be a hands down masterpiece. And after listening to this album many times the last few weeks, I don't thing they'll grow on me anytime soon.

This album is quite comparable to the band's debut. Here we have more use of clean vocals; the guttural vocals almost serve as more of a backing vocal line, rarely having any featured time. This aspect I prefer over that of Focus' somewhat below par sounding guttural vocals. What makes me slightly prefer their debut overall is how the music here has less textural variation than Focus, or at least from track to track. They overall sound all too similar to me, and I don't personally find the material as interesting overall, though I do appreciate everything that's done with the writing in logical terms.

I can see why many people are excited about this release considering the circumstances with the band and the progression in their sound. I find it an entertaining album but nothing to really write home about or listen to often enough to learn every note. If you're interested in what's happening right now with progressive extreme metal scene, or if you loved Cynic's debut and want to hear where the band has headed with their music after quite some time, this might be an album for you to check out. It'll be very interesting to hear what their next album will sound like.

Isa | 3/5 |

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