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Cynic - Traced In Air CD (album) cover

TRACED IN AIR

Cynic

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.13 | 401 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Well, when I first heard about this album I was quite excited. Also slightly worried what it would be like after such a long gap. Well? It turns out both were correct. This album does have some strong points, not to mention the technical and intricate music that we would've expected. However, I was a bit disappointed with the album. I try my best not to compare albums, so I took some time off, but after more listening I can say I am not comparing this album to "Focus". "Traced in Air" is simply not that great.

Nunc Fluens. Frankly pretty boring. The guitar work is mainly just screechy noises, (though the drumming over the middle part is pretty cool). The end is the only part I really enjoy.

The Space For This. Begins really mellow, but kicks in soonish. Has some nice layered vocals, with clean over growls. While it sounds cool, it always does. I suppose what I'm saying is, a bit played out in my book. The solo in the middle is pretty great. Lots of technicality and melodicism in the song.

Evolutionary Sleeper. Same as above.

Integral Birth. Starts off cool, followed by a melodic part, some strange clean singing over growls, repeat.

Staring to notice a pattern? Well, that may be because pretty quickly this album starts to taper off. It's one of those dilemma's...if it is good music, then it's not bad if it all more or less is the same? As is often the case with album's like that, every song on here is good. None are standouts, and none are low points. So I will say this about "Traced in Air". It has some great musicianship. Technical, complex and intricate guitar passages, great drumming that perfectly matches the music. Honestly, the music is pretty brilliant.

However, here are some problems. The vocals are very difficult. Like with "Focus" they are not clean vocals per se. They are still those robotic vocals. Not all the time, there is plenty of natural singing but overall the clean vocals, (both of them) just sound awful. The sound of the guitar is different. I was going to say strange but it's not, just different. With this release Cynic took a step even farther away from death metal. In fact they took a step from metal in general. It's still there though. They also seemed to have moved a bit from jazz, though it as well is still there. Cynic appears to have moved in a truer progressive direction. This album has a very spacey feel to it. Also, while I am not a stickler for production, (unless its terrible it has no sway on me) the production here is one other issue. It is not bad, but strange. I'm sure its what they wanted, but I have a tough time hearing all easily, sounds like a bit of a mess.

So, what to say about this spacey, jazz-metal album? It has the essential musicianship we'd expect from Cynic, but is overall slow, and drags often. It was physically difficult for me to listen to. Not great, not bad. The pros dont really outweigh the cons or vice versa. Therefore I give "Traced in Air"

Three Stars

JJLehto | 3/5 |

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