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Cynic - Traced In Air CD (album) cover

TRACED IN AIR

Cynic

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.14 | 403 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Traced in Air" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Cynic. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2008. Cynic were quite a prominent name on the progressive part of the early nineties US death metal scene and they released one of the seminal albums on that scene in "Focus (1993)". They had released no less than four demos from 1988 - 1991 though and various members of the band had also worked as session musicians on albums by artists such as Atheist, Pestilence, Master and Death before the release of "Focus (1993)". They toured shortly to support the release of their debut album, but then disbanded to concentrate on other projects. So "Traced in Air" is a genuine comeback album 15 years down the line. The lineup has seen one change as guitarist Jason Gobel has been replaced by Dutch guitarist Tymon Kruidenier, who also delivers the sparse growling vocals on the album.

"Traced in Air" is a compact album featuring 8 tracks distributed over a 34:16 minutes long playing time. Not completely unlike the format of "Focus (1993)". The music style and overall sound has changed quite a bit since the debut though. The high pitched growling vocals are more subdued this time around (and predominantly appear low in the mix) and mostly appear as backing to the clean vocals and as a consequence the death metal tag that the band were given in the early nineties isn´t that valid anymore. While the technical level of playing is certainly high (and still features jazz and fusion traits) and the tracks challenging in structure and dynamics, there is a tranquil/spiritual atmosphere about "Traced in Air", that is even more pronounced than it was on "Focus (1993)".

The album features one brilliant track after another. Tracks like "The Space for This", "Evolutionary Sleeper" and "King of Those Who Know" are breathtaking to say the least. The only track I find is slightly sub par to the rest is "The Unknown Guest", but we´re still talking a high quality progressive metal track, so it´s a minor issue, that more than anything else probably comes down to personal taste.

The music is multi-layered and quite difficult to grasp upon initial listen, but fortunately the sound production is detailed and well sounding, which helps to easier understanding the music upon repeated listens. So "Traced in Air" is an album that wins on all perimeters and if you view the album in an overall perspective it´s not only a unique sounding release in Cynic´s discography but also a unique sounding album in music in general. A rare a achivement that fully deserves a 5 star (100%) rating.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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