Cynic - Focus CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 419 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars While "Focus" is generally an impressive album, I'm not quite sure whether it deserves all the hype, since it often goes in the direction of boring, over-indulgent and meaningless complexity that leads you nowhere. I'm not really a fan of the sound of the band and production of this record either - the guitars sound a bit too muddy and distorted, the bass often sounds like it belongs on a disco tune, and the processed/scream vocal contrast occasionally comes off as cheesy rather than interesting. All of this does not mean "Focus" is a bad album, but it represents in equal amounts where extreme prog metal (and prog metal in general) should and should NOT go. Opener ,"Veil of Maya", though seemingly a fan favourite, has never appealed much to me, as I can't really find any truly memorable or at least interesting moments here. Though it does represent the bands overall sound and style pretty well, it's not really a highlight. "Celestial Voyage" is far better , combining catchiness and complexity in a much more effective way. The "Eagle Nature" is a good example of what I'm talking about regarding sacrificing melody for complexity and meaningless technical doodling, though to it's credit, it does have a memorable chorus." Sentiment begins" with a promising guitar riff (well, preceded by a 40 second intro), but eventually succumbs to the same problem ." I'm but a Wave too..." , in my opinion,is the most uneventful track on the album. "Uroboric Forms" fares better, featuring some cool riffing, while the instrumental "Textures" delves deeper into the band's ambient, jazzy sound , providing much-needed refreshment. And finally, the closer, "How Could I" , begins with a simple, melodic bassline , which is then joined by the rest of the band before they plunge back into death-metal territory, this time with more inspired and interesting riffing, making it a highlight of the album.

My conclusion is that "Focus" would appeal more to metalheads aiming to expand their musical horizons rather than prog fans well-acquainted with complex, forward-thinking music. Perhaps, if this guys had stayed together for another album or two, the results would've been more satisfying...

Pafnutij | 3/5 |


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