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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 503 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I just purchased both Traced in Air and Focus. While I am enjoying Traced, I can't help but notice how much more engaging and interesting Focus is. Every song, every nuance, every treatiment, every instrument comes as such a surprise?delightful surprises! There is absolute genius in creativity and innovation with regard to sound structures and use of sound technologies. This is quite possibly the finest metal album I've ever heard?one that is immediately accessible?and enjoyable--to even me, a non-metal head. I own the CD version that has the 2004 remixes of "Veil of Maya," (10/10) "I'm but a Wave to?" (9/10) and "How Could I" (8/10) as well as three songs that were not on the original 1994 issue, "Cosmos," (8/10) "The Circle's Gone" (9/10) and "Endless Endeavors" (10/10) and, I have to say, I like all of the additional material equally if not better than the original stuff. There's more clarity and definition to all instruments in the remixes?everything is seemingly 'brought forward' in the mix instead of left back in a cloudy atmosphere. The three additional songs show a less technical metal side to Cynic?even a kind of MAGENTA/MARTHA & THE MUFFINS-like sound in both "The Circle's Gone" and "Endless Endeavors."

The musicianship is so high, the band plays so tight, the compositions and individual performances are so creative?even innovative--I'm simply astounded. The weakest part for me are the vocals?even though I like the call and response technique--growl & 'vocoder'?but not used over and over like this. On songs like "Textures" (10/10?1994's version of KC's "Discipline/Indiscipline"), "Sentiment" (10/10), and "I'm But a Wave to ?" (9/10) the vocals are often almost incidental and allow the listener to better appreciate the work of the instrumentalists and the overall composition. And I actually quite like the occasional and very effective presence of a female vocalist, (Who is this?she is uncredited. It can't be Paul Masvidal, can it?) and I like the Earth doom/human spirituality/quantum physics message of the lyrics. The sudden and unexpected 'tender' sections are delightfully fun?and quite interesting from a compositional perspective. Unquestionably, the lead and 'rhythm' guitar playing, drumming, and bass (esp. the PASTORIUS-like fretless) is absolutely brilliant throughout.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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