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Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 503 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Cynic were a part of the original death metal boom in Florida in the early 1990s. This was the groups only album until 2008 when they finally released a follow up. I had heard of Cynic in the '90s but not until recently did I actually hear their music. I just assumed they had more than one album. They were one of the first death/extreme bands to incorporate jazz fusion into their music. What stands out is the vocoderized vocals used on the album. They make otherwise ordinary vocals sound melodic. Alternating with them is a vocal style that sounds somewhere between hardcore punk yelling and death metal growling. Sometimes you hear what sounds like female vocals as well.

The first song "Veil Of Maya" you can listen to here on PA. Some nice jazzy guitar at times. The 'chorus' part is kind of catchy. "Celestial Voyage" has some cool sounding vocals. Great guitar playing and drumming. "The Eagle Nature" features some nice 'clean' guitar and some echoed talking. Some kind of digital synthesizer is used towards the end, very symphonic even for a few seconds. "Sentiment" fades in with some tribal percussion before great basswork takes us to the heart of the song. Female vocals going back and forth in the stereo spectrum as the drumming gets more interesting. The last minute is notable for having the band slowly faded out while a repeating sound on synth can be heard.

"Uroboric Forms" has some very melodic and catchy vocoder vocals. What sounds like female vocals in the middle. The music changes throughout. It actually goes into straight death metal at the end. "Textures" starts off very Math Rock sounding...very good math rock too. Gets jazzier around 1 1/2 minutes. There is a twangy melodic guitar line here which gets repeated that I just love. Includes a solo on either fretless bass or Chapman Stick. Gets more math rock-y near the end. An instrumental highlight. "How Could I" begins with a sequence on digital synth. Eventually drums take the band into more jazzy death metal with melodic and memorable vocoder vocals. Some of the 'clean' guitar here almost sounds classical. Great bass playing during the harmonized guitar solo. What sounds like an organ at the end.

The playing is terrific and the sound is decent. The songs are not very long. My only major complaint is that I don't like the 'throaty' vocals too much, but they are not as bad as some vocals in metal. The bass parts and the vocoderized vocals really stand out and put this group in a whole other league of extreme metal bands. Haven't heard the follow up yet but plan to. I will give this 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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