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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 579 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars NOTE: this is really more around 4.5 than 4.

I had first heard of the band Cynic from friends. When I started to venture deep into the genre of death metal a long long time ago...erm, two years ago (back when I hated most of death metal, now I love it like it's my child) I looked into the band Atheist. I instantly got into them, as I loved their excellent combination of jazz and metal. After praising this band constantly, some of my friends recommended the band Cynic. After some research, the band became very interesting to me. Sean Malone is a professional jazz bassist and Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert were part of Death (another band I love). This struck to me as interesting, so I decided to dive into their first album, mainly because it was recommended to me and because sites like this one and rated Focus higher than Traced In Air (and now I see why).

Focus is one of those albums that takes a couple of listens to really like it. I loved the robotic sounding vocals and I didn't mind the death metal vocals either, but it didn't seem to click at first. After a couple of more listens, I was hooked. I now find myself playing this album in my car and when I'm at my computer constantly. It's hard to believe that this was made in 1993, considering that this album (especially the very melodic instrumental Textures) is way ahead of it's time. It's unconventional death metal, with good use of keyboards (especially on the last track How Could I), and wonderful guitar solos courtesy of Paul Masvidal. With it's constant jazz fusion overtones, use of keyboards, and robotic vocals, this is a death metal album that defies convention. Cynic journeyed into unknown death metal territory when this came out, leading the way for future bands like Between The Buried And Me, Periphery and Animals As Leaders to venture down the same experimental path that they went down some 17 years ago.

I only have a couple minor complaints for this album. The pathetically short length is always something that annoyed me with this album (although I imagine that the album wouldn't be considered the classic that it is today if it had an extra 20 minutes of material that could have been potentially weaker than what's on this album), and sometimes the new age, metaphysical lyrics are a turnoff (but to avoid this album simply because of the lyrics would be asinine). Still, I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves prog or techincal music. This is an album that should appeal to everyone.

spookytooth | 4/5 |


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