Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Cynic - Traced In Air CD (album) cover



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars I don't write many reviews as of late but hearing an advance copy of this album inspired me to write one.

For those of you who may have been skeptical of Cynic being able to deliver a worthy successor to 'Focus' after a 15 year absence you may rest easy as this album is up to par and in fact, surpasses the previous album. As soon as the tribal pulse of the first track slowly fades in you know you're in for an exciting ride.

Without revealing too much, these songs are much more finely crafted, more brutal, and more beautiful than on 'Focus'. Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert have matured so much as composers and this album just sucks the listener in until the last second of the final track. The album's length is perfect and just lends itself so well to repeated listens. I can't bring myself to skip to specific tracks as I'd be robbing myself of the experience that is 'Traced In Air'.

This album is the most exciting release for metal of this decade, and perhaps so of all genres.

Report this review (#182868)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is so good to hear Cynic music before 15 years. Is not so good to listen to their music witha leak of originallity. I had the opportunity to listen to this album at the house of a friend twice. The first time i heard to it i found it for 5 stars but then i didn,t find it so good.

Focus was very original for 1994 .It was a masterpiece of the tech extr.prog metal or post metal prog. That album established the basis for this type of music.

This album is very good if you put it in the 90 ties or the beginning of the 2000,but in this last 14 years it seems that other bands took the place of Cynic(Meshuggah,Mars Volta,Opeth,Fates Warning etc... for ex.)

This album reminds me too much of The Mars Volta and if you take off the growling it is the new Mars Volta album. Same instrumental arrangements ,same vocals,very similar compositions. So this album better to be classified as tech extreme prog metal is a heavy prog album in the line of TMV.

Songs are not so original too....

So then i put to this work 3 stars

Report this review (#183325)
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars How long has it been? 10? 15 years? Cynic's debut, Focus for me was an unparalelled musical tour de force. I remember being somewhat heartbroken to learn of the bands split so it was a pleasant surprise to hear about the re union earlier this year.

Now onto the new music. Its safe to say that even though there has been a huge gap between both releases that this new release Traced in Air is a logical successor to Focus. The music picks up where Focus left off. The musicianship is tight as would be expected. The songs are possibly more melodic with, dare I say it, some Steely Dan-esque moments. High points for me would be the majestic Evolutionary Sleeper and the weaving King of those who know thought to be honest, there isnt a low point on the album.

Highly recommended to those in search of something a little different.

Report this review (#183387)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
4 stars This is my introduction to this very original and highly energetic band. Cynic, in a nutshell, are what i would call a cross between Unexpect and The Mars Volta. The melodies, drumming and singing remind me a lot of TMV's music, whilst the background growling and complexity remind me heavily of Unexpect (who i don't like very much, however this band I can't get enough of). The scarce number of short songs make the album come, and then go quite literally half an hour later. This is what i see as good. Crisp, in and then out, not boring in the slightest, the very same way i feel about the great Gentle Giant. However, the similarities this band have with others ends here: the music is probably some of the most energetic neo-classical extreme metal i've ever heard, all the musicians are very tightly together and the songs... well you cannot get any more interesting. They pile what seems like 60 minutes of ideas into 30 minutes, quite the opposite of what bands like Sigur Ros and Rosetta achieve. Coming from the extreme metal genre, you cannot expect an easy ride; it is just as turbulent as the rest of the bands in the category.

That is all that can really be said, apart from i would have expected a longer album after so many years of waiting, but anyways, it can't be helped. These guys are well rehearsed, write decent and inventive music and are entirely original in their ideas, putting aside the apparent influences. The length is a minor set back, and should only deter the shallowest of prog listeners. An excellent album, 4 stars from me.

Report this review (#183449)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars So surprisingly for me I download an album from sub genre I've never listened before - ext/tech prog metal.And that is the new album by Cynic - Traced in Air.At the beginning the sound was very strange for me,but after five listenings I think this album is really of high quality.The songs show the creativity by the musicians.There are no wear songs on this album.The sound is strong and contains short-piece tunes,which I think are typical for this sub genre.My favourite song on the album is The Space for This.It is really great song for me.Something that I don't like very much is the track listing.I think it could be better,excluding the first and the last song,which made the composition completed.I think this sub genre has a lot to offer in near future!
Report this review (#183593)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Cynic has returned after fifteen years of absence to show us that they will continue what they have started with a new album called Traced in Air.

The fifteen years of their absence really pays off when you hear this new album. Not only is the basic overall sound of the record similar to their previous record, Focus, they have improved that sound using their fifteen years of experiences they have gained from working with different side projects like Portal and Aeon Spoke. Paul Masdival's guitar playing is superb as usual and the dreaded robotic vocals, (which I really didn't mind in the first place) are replaced with a less-robotic voice with more melodic range, delivering a cleaner, more crisper sound. Singing along with the cleaner robotic vocals, Tymon Kruidenier provides the opposite end of the clean voice with his growls. Malone also makes a come back to intertwine his warm bass playing with Paul's guitar playing along with Tymon's. Along with that, Reinhert also makes a return to deliver some of the best drum playing I have ever heard.

With these four musicians playing their respective instruments, the music comes to life and breathes giving the album a very organic feel; which was also similar to Focus but this time the band is tightened and more focused thanks to their fifteen years of experience. Not only is their music alive and unique, their music flows into each other so perfectly that you may mistake as the album as being one big composition of jazz-fusion death metal. The songs are intertwined with each other giving the album more energy.

Since each of the songs are so unified with each other, there is no weak spot in this record. Each of the songs are of perfect length and of perfect composition that there is no dull moment through out this record. (Though I do wish for some of the songs to be a bit longer because of how awesome they are.) As the band proceeds to go through dynamic changes time signature changes. It filled my ears ith such amazing aural pleasure its hard to describe.

If I could I would go on and on about how this album is a masterpiece but why tell you how awesome it is when you should go experience the music yourself? I highly recommend this album to those who love a very unique sound to their music. Its hard to categorize this record because it fuses jazz, death metal in a way no one would ever have expected. People may say this is a death metal record but I would like to say that this is more of a jazz-fusion progressive metal record with some highly philosophical lyrics and amazing instrumentation.

Truly the best album to have come out for 2008 in my honet opinion. Its good to have Cynic back making their music.

Report this review (#184227)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ive been a fan of Cynics Focus for years, and I couldn't believe this was true: a new alum from the legendary and cult band. The outcome? Well, its all very logical really, if you take into account what the members have been doing since the first album. The rhythm base, with both Malone and Reinert, has gotten very technical as in the Gordian Knot recordings. On the other hand, Masvidals group Aeon Spoke, a ballad sort of rock group, also influences the sound this record has. The way it pans out is that this album is a mix of Aeon Spoke + the previous Cynic+Gordian Knot. This creates a more melodic, less heavy, and more complex structure (more stop and go, sort of stuff). But hardcore metal fans don't be scared, this is still heavy enough to be frowned upon by all your parents and grandparents if played at a family reunion. Some stuff that has changed: The guitar riffs are somewhat slower than on Focus and are more melodic; the robotic voice is more human, and its easier to recognize Paul's voice in it; the robotic/grunt voice ratio is inversed, now, the robotic voice has the lead most of the time; the second guitar has less participation; the Keyboards are rarely used (if at all?), and the jazzy parts are also less frequent. All in all, Ive really liked this recording, the band has matured, and stayed true to themselves, not copying what they already did, but giving Rebirth (pun) to a band that feels fresh and delivers a high quality recording. This aint as groundbreaking as the original but stands up to the test of this humble fan, who is grateful of their return.
Report this review (#184744)
Posted Saturday, October 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I popped this into my CD player, expecting to hear something boring and aged in the bad way. How many bands come back 10 or more years later and disappoint people greatly. Traced in Air is a great return album for the band Cynic, whose last album Focus was considered a masterpiece by many in the Death Metal and Prog Metal scene. Evolutionary Sleeper is the one track that in my opinion captures their new sound to a tee. Its very much technical metal, yet somehow sounds experimental like The Mars Volta or the band 3. This album goes from fast angry riffing, to beautiful spacey passages all in the same song. This is must for any Progressive Metal fans collection.
Report this review (#187423)
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Cynic - 'Traced in Air' 5 stars

A little rant:

When I first heard of Cynic a few years ago.they were long disbanded. I enjoyed the album a hell of a lot, and realized the band's 'Focus' album was one of the biggest landmarks in metal. I found it to be a completely remarkable record, but just patchy in some areas. After the reunion tour was announced I was excited..but to here news of a new album, I was not. Whenever a band gets back together after an overdue hiatus, their new album is terrible, just about every time. When I first heard the album, I couldn't believe what I was hearing, the sound of this record is something I have never heard before, even after all these years the band had something new to bring to the table, and most of this material was written around 1993-1994. The hardest part of listening to this album was knowing the previous one 'Focus' and how innovative that album was. This band put that album in the past and now I do too.

The sound of the band on this album is incredible and has one of the best production values. The album is loaded with some background effects and samples, above that is soaring guitar melodies and the intense drumming of Sean Reinhard and pompous bass work of Sean Malone. The biggest change is the biggest complaint, the vocals. After all these years, Paul Masividal can SING! He can hit plenty of high notes, sound real emotional and without the vocoder! The death growls are so unbelievably miniscule that they are sparse throughout the entire album and buried so deep that one can just not hear them. The band ditches a dissonant for a more melodic approach. Now that the music is easier to bear on the listener, the vocals are also more tuned and appealing. This album tells a story, the music intertwines and connects after a few listens. There is really no way for me to put this album down in any way. A perfect score is well deserved here. This album also accounts for the best opening and closing of all time.

Now I question myself and my low expectation for this album:

With the interesting post-Cynic Portal project, Sean Malone's solo project and his Gordian Knot project, which displayed excellent technical prowess and tight complex compositional work, Paul Masividal's and Sein Reinhard's expanding taste with the ethereal art-pop project Aeon Spoke and jazz-metal band Aghora..

.should I really even have been surprised?

Album of the year, by a disgusting margin.

Report this review (#191849)
Posted Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've never been into Cynic much, until they reformed last year and they released a new album. The hype surrounding this album was huge. So I decided to give Traced in Air a try. The album has 8 songs and 34:07 running time, which some people may find short. But I think it's perfect to hold the attention of the listener throughout the album. We have a tribal opening with Nunc Fluens, nothing much to say here. The beginning of The Space for This is beautfiul, the clean vocals and guitars blend very beautifully with each other. The song is huge, very good drumming, very nice vocal melodies. One difference I can spot when compared to Focus is that Cynic returns to a more melodic sound. This may be very welcoming for new fans and I think it will be. The growls aren't used as much as Focus but they're still present. Then we move onto another standout track from the album Evolutionary Sleeper. Very good and powerful opening, solid riffs. The chorus is very melodic and catchy. The way the growls and clean vocals are used on top of each other is really weird I must say, but it gives a very different vibe. The guitar solo of this song is amazing, best I heard from Cynic. Very jazzy and very melodic at the same time. I think this song can very well be suggested for a first listener of Cynic. The fourth track is Integral Birth. Very much in the vein of Evolutionary Sleeper, again very melodic vocals, solid riffs. The use of growl is much more present in comparison to Evolutionary Sleeper. We move to the second side of the album. The Unknown Guest starts with fade-in riffs, the band is like a cannon. They pass from very heavy riffs to clean and soft parts very professionally. The technical proficiency in this album sometimes reminds me of King Crimson album Discipline. We have a short ambient break in the middle, followed by a very melodic guitar solo in The Unknown Guest. The end has some sort of tribal chants, very good track indeed. The second track is Adam's Murmur, a very changing dynamic song. The clean parts are very,very beautiful, dreamy. The drum performance of Sean Reinert is above limits. A softer and more melodic track when compared to the whole album. Then we move on to the longest track on the album, King of Those Who Know. This is the one, starts with clean guitars and angel vocals, but quickly moves into growls and heavy riffs. Some clean arpeggios are very melancholic. Very synth sounding guitar solo is placed in the middle. I love how condensed this album is and everything is in its right place, beautiful. A very jazzy part near the end, sometimes reminding of Textures and at last Nunc Stans finishes where Nunc Fluens started off, very calm ending track. The album with its cover, 8 solid songs, very proficient musicians and their dedication deserve a 5 star from me. This is clearly one of the best releases of the year along with Opeth's Watershed and Steven Wilson's Insurgentes.
Report this review (#192336)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars I took a gamble with this one and was rewarded entirely-- Traced in Air is a jigsaw puzzle of complex instrumental work and songwriting, very satisfying during both its numerous aggressive and atmospheric passages.

The biggest thing this album has going for it is its musicianship-- which is first rate. Each member of the band is like a mathematician with their instrument, calibrating some sort of high-tech device with their playing. That being said-- they aren't robots; there is a classy feeling of moodiness and a sort of brooding sarcasm behind their playing, which is really cool. For a band centered around instrumental dexterity, there is also a high level of restraint here as well. The group doesn't share the spot-light because there isn't one-- no one steals the show, which means that this music is not for the casual ear waiting for a melodic guitar solo.

Although unmistakably metal, it is hardly extreme of overbearing. Vocals are an interesting combination of a subdued, but aggressive growl and a highly produced alto/falsetto. The lyrics are interesting, but are usually lost in the complexity of the songs, which means that each singer ends up becoming more of an instrument than a traditional voice-- this isn't sing-a-long music! Expect nothing but cosmic density!

For fans of instrumental music this is pretty much the total package; I have few complaints. Worthy of any metal fans attention, but especially those who enjoy talent more than soaring vocals.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#201651)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Most metal bands, or even bands in general, that take an almost 15 year hiatus before coming back together to make a new album usually make one of inferior quality. That's what I had been afraid of when I heard Cynic got back together. I thought that there wasn't any way that they could hope to top the mind-blowing Focus, especially after such a long period of time. I was completely and 110% wrong. In fact, it proved me so wrong that this has gradually become my pick for album of the year in 2008. This is an album that I find myself coming back to three, four, five, and sometimes even more times every week, often multiple times in a day.

This album may not seem like a big deal to most proggers, especially since it only clocks in just over 34 minutes. However I think the length for this type of album is just right. It's a great mix of psychedelic-infused jazz fusion in a death metal setting with a touch of avant-garde. The vocals are about a 70-30 mix of clean singing and death growls respectively, which is definitely a good mix for this type of music. This is definitely a unique experience in metal. Like I said, while many of the songs are shorter, I think it helps to hold the listener's attention and feels more like the band was trying to cram 60 minutes worth of ideas into these songs. They are very, very complex jazz-fusion inspired death metal. Although while I think Focus concentrated more on the death metal and jazz aspects, this album focuses more on the psychedelic aspects of their music. Masvidal's lyrics still remain oddly soothing and beautiful, and at times almost like they were computer-generated. Kruidenier has excellent death growls which are used to great effect, even if at times it's fairly minimal. And Cynic also has one of the most accomplished rhythm sections in metal as far as I'm concerned in Malone and Reinert, even to the point where I'll sometimes go through this album just to listen to what the drums and bass are doing. The highlights for me are really tough picks, but in the end, the trio of The Space for This (with a nice spacey intro), Evolutionary Sleeper, and Integral Birth blows me away every time I listen to them.

If you enjoy metal, jazz fusion, psychedelic, or instrumental music and want something modern, complex, and wholly unique, then this should fit your tastes very well. Granted, it may take time to grow on some people in comparison to others, but it's an extremely enjoyable listen. 5 stars, and hopefully Cynic will write another album as good as this less than 15 years from now.

Report this review (#202342)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Unique, Essential Piece of Space-Jazz-Technical-Prog Metal

While I will describe the sound of this brilliant band, this is a work that truly must be heard to believe. No other band sounds like this, and the elements combine so well that I have no problem saying that Traced in Air is a masterpiece of progressive Metal. If someone asked for 5 albums to describe the genre, this would be one of my picks.

The most obvious sonic feature of this band is the vocoder / computer / robot vocals. At first, this seems like a gimmick, but it actually fits the nature of the music and the lyric themes quite well. The degree of effect varies between sections, though I don't think there are any completely clean vocals, and it is often backed by a dragonvoice vocal and the combination is surprisingly effective. Over the course of the album, there are actually quite a variety of different vocal tonalities used, and they all work well.

The second, though less singular, feature of this band is the use of double-note palm muting arpeggios as the primary rhythm guitar form. That guitar speak is a technical description of the continuous chugging on the low strings that, combined with the very busy drumming, form the rhythmic basis of the music. Cynic uses this technique extensively, and the feel is at once loose, on top of the beat, but very technical and precise. Always, this feels like live humans playing off each other, never like a computer-corrected, click-track governed sterile sound that is common to the genre.

The album also features a fair bit of clean jazz chording which is extremely tasty and offsets the heavy distortion well. The guitar soloing is fluid, seemingly effortless despite some nice chops in places. All of this evokes sonic images that like the cover artwork are complexly colorful. This is a rich music, you can feel the musicians pouring their energy into the work, and unlike most death metal, the emotion they inject is not hate or anger. I feel love, fascination, fear, wonder, suffering, hope, sadness, and strength within this music, though never naked aggression.

What holds this all together is a great sense of melody. When the storm dies down and the refrain of Evolutionary Sleeper is sung in all its computer assisted glory, what hits home is the melody, one of the most basic of musical elements. This is what will bring back non-metalheads, even musical snobs who might not even venture often in rock to say: Now that's some creative music. The band has the wisdom to keep the album short, so the listener is left satisfied.

If metal has masterpieces, this is one of them. Essential for those who care about the current state of progressive music.

***Late 2009 note - this album has grown in appreciation for me to the point to think that it may be among the best prog metal albums ever made. Beautiful, deep, magical, amazing.

Report this review (#207572)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars You are the wind beneath my wings...

And the hurricane that rips my body apart. That is a nice way to say how this album portrays itself, overall. The deranged highly technical compositional levels are staggering, and all of the performers are experts in their selected craft.

This album supposedly befits the general base element of air. I would be inclined to agree, as air can and will be terribly brutal at times, and caress you softly the next. Such is the music of this fine half hour complex excursion.

Nunc Fluens begins in a sort of cacophonous rabble that atmospherically sets the tone for the first leg of the album. It then becomes one monster roller coaster ride with jagged assaulting start stop jerking eruptions, mind boggling technical playing, and the occasional soft and seemingly warmly smooth section.

In all, this is a more laid back album compared to the highly praised Focus, which is part of why it is such a fantastic album, the brutality and calm is more balanced out, with much more focus on the robotic and soft vocals utilizing the vocoder, which adds a more ethereal and airy mood to the entire package. The knotty passages could make many music students weak in the knees. This is insanely technical.

The lyrics, as usual with Cynic, are cryptic and imagery laden, with enough complexities to deeply interest those who take lyrics into deep account. The melodic singing is superb, and the growling is expertly executed. The disc's short running time also assists in the overall charm of it. It makes for absolutely no time wasted, whatsoever. Then you've the entire twisting and ever evolving and spiraling theme of the album, which is turned inside out and back, again. No musical idea overstays its welcome, and makes for a compact listening ride.

The only real thing I could say negatively about this release, is that the brutality might put a large majority of listeners off, but what would you expect? The album ends in another moody atmospheric song Nunc Stans. Over before it began? Not really. the album takes all the time it needs to fully explore the musical ideas present. The complexity, paired with the originality, berth of musical ideas and ideas that are exceptionally well crafted and utilized, the intriguing nature of the release, and the intense emotional hell ride that it subjects you to, warrant this as a complex extreme metal masterpiece.

Best Moment - One compact half hour gold mine


Report this review (#218737)
Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Traced in Air is a difficult album to describe. There are definite metal elements to Cynic's work on this album. However, the sound can hardly be described as brutal, dissonant, or heavy. Rather, Cynic combines large amounts jazz and atmospheric prog rock to their technical death/thrash metal to create an album that is beautifully etherial. The sound on this album is wonderful, and makes for a wonderful listen.

Probably the most prominent instrument is the guitar by Paul Masvidal. While sometimes having a standard metal crunch to it, a lot of the guitar on the album is rather melodic, with technical and quick paced string picking a large part of the sound. Also notable is the excellent drumming by Sean Reinert, and while technical playing is to be found all over the album, it matches the energy and atmosphere of the songs perfectly. What really makes the album unique though is the vocals. Most of the album is laden with high-pitched vocoder vocals, accenting the more melodic sound of the album. Metal fans may be slightly dissapointed to only find death growls buried behind the melodic ones, but they should recognize that the vocoder makes Traced In Air quite possibly one of the most unique- sounding metal albums of all time, and certainly within the last decade. This 'celestial metal' sound goes to show that there is still progression to be found in rock and metal, and Traced in Air certainly is progressive in the most literal sense of the word.

All the tracks stand out in one way or another. The opener "Nunc Fluens" is a short intro, with tribal rhythms and outstanding wailing vocals and technical guitar. The next three songs expand upon this sound wonderfully, though in slightly more standard song structure, rather than in an almost instrumental album opening form. Also notable is "King of Those Who Know", which starts off softly with quiet clean jazz chords and female vocals, and except for the album closer it is probably the softest song on the album. The final track "Nunc Stans" leaves the listener hungry for more, and with an album at the 30 minute length, prog and metal fans will most likely want more. This is probably the only negative aspect of the album, though it just goes to show how keeping an album shorter can bring out the best in the band.

In any event, Traced in Air is a killer album. Metal fans need to get it, as do any prog fans, since it is a wonderful show of technicality, atmosphere, melody, heaviness, and energy.

Report this review (#219162)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I had the curiosity to listen to this album for the high score that is here on the page. a lot of different voice's on this type of music that constantly has become very popular at this time,black-metal or death metal if you want, a clean voice to an aggressive voice, drums changes, rapidly changing chords for bass to clean guitar's sound, it really is very dynamic and strong, depending of course state of being where you are, you have to be very positive to hear this, if only you hear it to judge, you better go away, traced in air is very similar to the music of Into Eternity, little by little this albums is growing on me..., but at least I found the opportunity to know and hear it, finally, I think that there are some finest parts... good production in the sound of all the record..I like some of the clean voices of the album.. and when the guitar sounds very clean it is amazing...

The space For This :is one of their best songs to the date.

Report this review (#221477)
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 14 years between albums is a long time. I'm so glad that they decided to do this though. Their debut was hugely influential but back when they created it they really felt out of place as there were no other bands like them. How times have changed. Reinert, Malone and Masvidal are back and we get a new (second) guitarist named Tymon who also adds some growls. The growls on the debut were too upfront for my taste, but here they have been reduced to being almost like backing vocals.The processed vocals on the debut have been replaced by Masvidal's normal singing voice which is another plus. Instrumentally this may not quite be as good as the debut but it's still amazing to say the least. I have to mention the album cover and the pictures in the liner notes. So well done. I like the lyrics too.

"Nunc Fluens" builds until drums start to dominate. Great sound ! A really good intro track. "The Space For This" is pastoral with fragile vocals before it kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. We get a mixture of growls and clean vocals to follow. Ripping guitar before 3 minutes. Incredible tune. "Evolutionary Sleeper" kicks in fairly quickly and check out Reinert ! Vocals join in as the contrasts of heavy and more laid back continue. Amazing sound 2 minutes in. It just drifts along as the guitar solos tastefully. "Integral Birth" is heavy right out of the gate. It settles quickly though as vocals and drums start to lead the way. Heavy again as contrasts continue. Killer track !

"The Unknown Guest" builds and the drums sound fantastic in this one. Vocals before a minute. A mixture of clean and growls here. Some atmosphere 2 1/2 minutes in but the guitar comes ripping in to change that. "Adam's Murmur" continues with the contrasts both vocally and instrumentally. Another excellent song. "King Of Those Who Know" is pastoral with some guest female vocals early. It kicks in heavily and we get those contrasting vocals followed by some blistering guitar before 2 1/2 minutes.The guitar sounds so good 4 1/2 minutes in. "Nunc Stans" builds as drums pound away and guitar synths come in. Reserved vocals come in as it settles.

Easily 4 stars. Great album.

Report this review (#222662)
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars |C+| A great revival for Cynic.

It's easy to be suspicious of bands that get back together after a long period of being disbanded, for as others have pointed out, the output is almost always dreadful. But with Traced in Air we do in fact have a quality release from a band that has been disbanded for around decade and a half, then out of the blue reunites, produces an album, and even goes on tour for it. I wouldn't be all too surprised if this album has become so popular just because it far surpassed most peoples' expectations.

For anyone who doesn't already know, Cynic is a band that blends speedy death metal with fusion, the heavier parts being the former and the softer parts having qualities of the latter. They use many effects in their music in many ways, especially with the vocals and guitars. Their debut album Focus is considered by many extreme metal fans, especially on the artistic side, to be a staple of more intellectualized death metal, up to par with later Death and Atheist. The musicians certainly hold nothing back in showing off their musicianship, and not for the sake of itself, but for the sake of creating great music, which itself makes me have great respect for this band overall.

Also let it be noted that my rating comes more from my personal taste regarding the album. Objectively, this is a highly polished album, very few if any awkward spots, and well thought out writing and production overall. The best track is by far the second one, The Space for This, which in my mind is an instant classic of extreme metal. The other tracks, however, were not nearly as thrilling for me, though each had come very good sections. Had they all been as great as that second track, this album would be a hands down masterpiece. And after listening to this album many times the last few weeks, I don't thing they'll grow on me anytime soon.

This album is quite comparable to the band's debut. Here we have more use of clean vocals; the guttural vocals almost serve as more of a backing vocal line, rarely having any featured time. This aspect I prefer over that of Focus' somewhat below par sounding guttural vocals. What makes me slightly prefer their debut overall is how the music here has less textural variation than Focus, or at least from track to track. They overall sound all too similar to me, and I don't personally find the material as interesting overall, though I do appreciate everything that's done with the writing in logical terms.

I can see why many people are excited about this release considering the circumstances with the band and the progression in their sound. I find it an entertaining album but nothing to really write home about or listen to often enough to learn every note. If you're interested in what's happening right now with progressive extreme metal scene, or if you loved Cynic's debut and want to hear where the band has headed with their music after quite some time, this might be an album for you to check out. It'll be very interesting to hear what their next album will sound like.

Report this review (#226235)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars I respect the fact that Cynic reunited to record this album, but as far as the album itself goes, I simply don't find anything that blows my mind. The armony between some sort of experimental vocals and a progressive approach to technical death metal sound that the band had accomplished in "Focus" is now broken with "Traced in Air", that presents a much more "lighter" (vanal) version of this band's progressive - technical death metal.

Don't take me for a narrow minded metal head, I enjoy progressive rock as much as I enjoy a number of metal subgenres. "Traced in air" represents neither of them, I think. Since the beggining, with "Nunc Fluens", one can hear a diminished version of "Focus", with "The space for this" i strongly start to dislike the album, this song takes only a minimum of Cynic's distinctive proggresive sound and combines it with a "niu metal - metalcore" kind of relation between vocals-strings. From "Evolutionary Sleeper" to the end of the album, there's nothing more to say, all of this tracks mantain a formula i've started to hear a lot in these years: "Technical" guitar sound, a growl now and then, not really achieved melodic vocals, and really simple progressions.

I really feel sad with this album, I expected a lot more from Cynic, "Focus" is a great album though. I surely hope new progressive-technical metal bands start to listen some Death or Atheist, in this particular case ("Traced in Air"), I'm sure they didn't.

Report this review (#226853)
Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their triumphant return after 14 silent years.

My first thought about formulating this review was a question about how to rate it. "I think it is very good, but is it applicable to all audiences? Could I really be so bold as to say it's excellent for any collection, when many collections would disagree?" If I were to knock it for that reason, then almost the entire tech/extreme metal genre would have to be knocked down in ratings. This website would soon devolve to ratings based on genre which would be a great evil towards many great artists found in the more looked-down upon genres. We must rate these albums based on the concept that each genre is in and on it's own completely worthwhile and fine for any audience to ensure that they are properly rated.

This album moves. Simple as that. The vocal types don't stay stagnant, mixed between clean and different types of growls--the guitar almost never rests, creating a rhythmic backbone to support this beast, as well as add some sort of a melody--the drums play complicated mutating beats that add a great sense of excitement, movement, and chaos. The end result keeps you in suspension, the energetic sections pump adrenaline through you, but just as quickly as they start, they end, leading may to more undefined slow sections that make your skin crawl from ignorance--you can never tell when it will change, or even what into! Sometimes you're thrown back into the tempest of notes and double bass drums, sometimes you're dragged along for a long section of song whose buildup of Crimsonian speed throws you for a loop.

The writing on this album is excellent, so carefully constructed to sound like it almost doesn't have any, yet keeping it's sense of forward momentum throughout. This really illustrates what prog metal leaning towards the extreme sounds, even leaning towards avant-garde can do. Not to mention this music can serve several purposes; it works beautify as background music as you play Halo, works as music to prog-out to with a bunch of friends, and also works it you want some pieces to analyse for ingenuity, innovation, or just straight musicality.

Report this review (#227067)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After fourteen years of absence, Cynic come back with one of the most astonishing metal albums. 'Traced In Air' is to me, a mix between Oceansize, Death (in which many of the members have features - Drums, guitars) and Yes. Cynic have a unique vocal style, and a smart use of the octaver, very solid drumming, and some of the best executed solos I've seen. A superb mix of jazz and metal, with a surprising coherence. I generally don't appreciate excessive soloing ŕ la Petrucci, but here the solos are right where they should be, and go grab these extra notes you never thought of and that make the melodies so unique. An album full of emotion, that can go from a mellow part without drums to a blasting jazz/death metal passage. This album also has a special place in my collection, for it is unique (thus the 5 stars). After one second of music, you instantly identify the sound and style, and the magic initiated in '94 hasn't gone down a single notch. Go buy this album!
Report this review (#231183)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars An awesome come-back !!

Cynic's reunion has been expected with so much appetence and anxiety! The American Prog- Masters are together again and release a real masterpiece. ''Traced In Air'' came as a thunder and brought down every suspension on this (maybe) difficult and risky case of reunion.

Everything is perfect here.! Paul's guitar playing has never been better, demonstrating that nothing has changed. His charateristic vocals, dressed with a voice decoder, are so beautiful, sometimes depressed, and the melodies created are breath-taking. Sean's Reinert drum performing is so technical and difficult that convince even the most demanding listener. Sean's Malone bass playing is the always well-known virtuoso playing that every Cynic's fan knows. Tymon takes on the brutal vocals and replace Tony Teegarden, better than anyone else. His guitar playing is also perfect.

Cynic records an album that goes from Pure Death Progressive Metal to Jazz and Fusion Paths, from the Brutal to an Atmospheric heaven. The album's production is not only perfect, but also a seminario for every hard's sound producer. Cynic continues to compose and perform out-spaced Progressive Metal music, extremely difficult and technical, and seems most power and productive than ever.

''Traced In Air'' is one of the most amazing albums of the 00's. A real essential album for every fan of the Tech-Extreme-Death-Progressive Metal sound. 5 stars..!!

Report this review (#238409)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This album came and went pretty much unnoticed. But being a fan of both the Tech Metal genre and Cynic's debut album I was eager to hear if Cynic's comeback would be comparable to the "new wave" of Tech Metal that has been sweeping me off my feet for the last couple of years. I'm talking about young bands like for example Between The Buried And Me and Canadian Protest The Hero. After a few spins it's safe to say that Cynic's sound is nothing like the new Tech Metal. The band has more of a Space Metal approach (combination of Space Rock and some Tech Metal) which was an interesting combination at first but I felt that all the technical riffs were muted down for the sake of the overall flow, which is in my opinion a real pity since I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more. Even during the most outrageous guitar-driven moments there is always some mellow atmospheric sound that keeps it all from not sounding as exciting as the guitar work would suggest.

This album just never clicked with me the way Focus did so I rarely listen to it although it's, by no means, a bad release. There's just so many different combinations that have been applied to the Tech Metal music in the last couple of years and couple of them do in fact bring something new to the table (Opeth, Unexpect) while others tend to sound like the continuation of the experiments that were conducted by Atheist, Death and Voivod in the early heydays. This one unfortunately fits into the latter category for me.

**** star songs: Nunc Fluens (2:56) The Space For This (5:46) Evolutionary Sleeper (3:35) Adam's Murmur (3:29) King Of Those Who Know (6:09)

*** star songs: Integral Birth (3:53) The Unknown Guest (4:13) Nunc Stans (4:13)

Total rating: 3,64

Report this review (#255824)
Posted Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A wonderful piece of modern Prog Metal.

Wow. I have to say, I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this album from my local FYE. However, there was only one copy left, and I had heard plenty of good things about Cynic, so I took a risk and bought the album prior to hearing any Cynical material. One of the best musical decisions I have ever made.

When I first listened to Traced In Air, I actually didn't care much for it. I'm not sure what I was wanting it to sound like instead, but the incredible originality of this music at first caused me not to enjoy it. Not because it was original, of course, but because it was so different from any other album in the genre. So, it was only until many months later when I decided to force myself to sit down and listen to the whole thing from start to finish that I finally understood what all the fuss was about. This truly is incredible.

My three favorite songs would have to be ''The Space For This'', ''Evolutionary Sleeper'' and ''Adam's Murmur'', though every single track on this record is brilliant. It has no weal point. Odd, really, since like I said I didn't understand why people dug it so much initially. Just goes to show that returning to music you may not have enjoyed on the first go 'round is highly beneficial, and almost insisted, especially with this genre of music.

So what makes it Progressive? Well, since it's Metal, I can understand this question being asked, but when compared to the rest of the generic Metal music that is out today, the originality of Traced In Air becomes clear. Instead of single note, palm- muted strumming constantly, the rhythm guitar duties are occupied just as much by Jazz chords, old-school Prog-Rock progressions and long periods of moody silence. In most typical Metal music being made right now, it seems the guitars are always present, and always playing in the same style. To the point when they begin to crowd the rest of the music. Not with Cynic. These guys have a very eclectic musical taste, and it shows very prominently.

Another feature commonly associated with super heavy music of this type would be the cookie monster-style growling vocal. Again, there is a nice mixture of high, soft and melodic singing along with what you would expect. So rather than dancing to only one tune, there are several directions these guys go in, and they do it quite frequently. This makes the music much easier to digest, and not nearly as overly-brutal or in-your-face as other Metal acts may be to some people. I strongly recommend this gem of modern Jazz-Metal (because that's what it is!) to anybody with an open-minded attitude about Metal. If you've been trying to get into this side of the music spectrum, but still haven't found the right outlet, this may very well be the record for you. Melodic, heavy, dark and beautiful, Cynic's Traced In Air is a wonderful contradiction of sound and attitude. All of these varied moods seamlessly flow together, and make this album a very worthy purchase for anybody willing to take a little walk into unusual heavy territory.

Happy Listening.

Report this review (#268353)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Integral rebirth...

Cynic are back! And what a majestic return! While the musicianship on "Focus" was already at a very advanced level, it's at an even higher level now, as they have had some 14 years to mature as musicians and improve their performance and writing skills even more. This has resulted in a kind of short, yet very breathtaking and powerful technical progressive metal album.

The fomula is essentially the same as on "focus" - namely the use of ever-driving complex jazzy metal guitar riffs combined with crisp, and crystal clear clean guitar parts and independent bass ostinatos and Reinerts dynamic drumming adding an extra dimension that goes beyond your average rhythm section. Masvidal's high-pitched melodic vocals are less robotized than on "Focus", but they are really haunting on this one, and his first vocal lines on "The Space for This" are certain to send shivers down the spines on many a listener's back. The death growls are also back and offer a perfect foil for Masvidal's soft and fragile vocals. The songs are more fluid on this album than on "Focus" which owes to Masvidal and Reinert having naturally improved and matured as musicians over the years. Maybe it's also this fluidity that makes me think that, while "Focus" certainly belongs in the genre of exteme metal, "Traced in Air" is better described at somewhere in between progressive rock, progressive metal, and jazz fusion spiced up with elements from death metal. In any case, who cares about genre labels when the music is truly gerat?

There really is no weak track on this album (although I don't listen that much to "Nunc Fluens" and "Nunc Stans") and my favorites are "The Space For This", "Evolutionary Sleeper", "The Unknown Guest", "Adam's Murmur", and "King Of Those Who Know".

As with "Focus", I'd recommend this to any fand of Atheist and Pestilence's "Spheres" and any musically adventurous fan of progressive rock and jazz fusion.

Report this review (#273584)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, Traced In Air is one of the best prog albums ever created. Literally the only fault I find with this album is how short it is. I would love to have more! From beginning to end this album is gripping, beautiful, melodic, technically brilliant, and fun. Cynic really topped themselves with this beauty of an album.

Traced In Air, first of all, is perfectly mixed and produced. Cynic's trademark vocorder effect is in full prominence, which I think is absolutely great. All of the instruments shine through and have unique parts all their own. I think the most impressive aspect of this album is the drumming. It never stops! Somehow the drumming is very busy and very technical without being overwhelming. The drummer creates a wall of sound upon which the rest of the instruments can paint their masterpiece.

This is an album that will forever live in my "favorites" playlist. I simply just cannot get enough of it! This is what prog music should be. Easily 5 stars- an essential part of any progressive music collection.

Report this review (#274313)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The successor of one of the best technical death albums ever.

It lasted 14 years for Cynic to come back and create again a milestone for the genre. For a band like Cynic it is no suprise that the music changed a bit. For example, the Death Metal almost vanished from the sound, leaving a nice mix of Fusion, Metal and the typical electronical vocals. Ok, the Death Metal is still a bit presented but there are very few growling parts. Actually, I like this change very much.

The intro "Nunc fluens" is only an ambient track to create the mood of a futuristic and chaotic situation. The next song "The Space for this" starts very calm with kind of jazzy chords. Then the guitar kicks in and the band takes off. The band uses a lot of technical guitar and bass parts. A very remarkable part is the guitar solo in the middle, which sounds very jazzy. I really like it. "Evolutionary Sleeper" also starts with a calmer jazzy part till the growling and a fast guitar riff come along. The bass and drums are very impulsive. Maybe this is the catchiest song of the album. "Integral Birth" follows the formula. The drums are great on this song. The following song "The Unknown Guest" is a bit bulkier than the previous songs with a strange rhythm but it makes it quite interesting. "Adam's Murmur" is maybe the weakest song but it is not that bad at all. "King of those who knows" is a really great ending song. Grand riffs and solos, a lot of different parts are in this song. "Nunc stans" is the outro of the album.

If you look for an album, which blends Metal and Jazz, then you totally have to buy it. It is relative short with 30 minutes but there are so much parts and riffs that this not that problem. The band managed to write an even better album than their first "Focus", which is quite impressive, due to the fact that Focus was a really great and novel album. So is "Traced in Air". Let's hope that their next album is not released in 2022, but even that would be no problem when it is so good like "Traced in Air".

Report this review (#276000)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars Cynic is a band with a very distinctive sound, blending progressive death metal with jazzy passages, highly complicated song structures and pretty unusual vocals. Fourteen years after their first studio release, Focus, Cynic decided to return with this album: an astonishingly technical release that leaves me ultimately cold.

Despite this, i can still name a lot of the album that I do like. The band proves to be one of a kind with their distinctive style. Very notable are the vocals, which vary from fierce growls to the futuristic, robotic sounding vocals. Also, the musicianship is nothing less than excellent. Highly technical song structures with riffs and passages that go everywhere. That sounds good, but I'd also like to point out that things feel overly dynamic. The album is a constanty exploding, and therefore lacking a constant flow. This is excactly why I find the album to be somewhat tiresome (and therefore uninteresting) and feel it tends to drag.

Somewhat enjoyable, but in the end tiresome, those are my main thoughts on this album. If you're looking for some highly technical extreme metal, you might enjoy this. If you want the album to have a nice flow rather than being 34 minutes of non-stop climatic moments, you might like this album much less. Anyway, despite my negative words, I don't find Traced In Air to be a really bad release, it just fails to enjoy me as much as some other music does.

Report this review (#280355)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, when I first heard about this album I was quite excited. Also slightly worried what it would be like after such a long gap. Well? It turns out both were correct. This album does have some strong points, not to mention the technical and intricate music that we would've expected. However, I was a bit disappointed with the album. I try my best not to compare albums, so I took some time off, but after more listening I can say I am not comparing this album to "Focus". "Traced in Air" is simply not that great.

Nunc Fluens. Frankly pretty boring. The guitar work is mainly just screechy noises, (though the drumming over the middle part is pretty cool). The end is the only part I really enjoy.

The Space For This. Begins really mellow, but kicks in soonish. Has some nice layered vocals, with clean over growls. While it sounds cool, it always does. I suppose what I'm saying is, a bit played out in my book. The solo in the middle is pretty great. Lots of technicality and melodicism in the song.

Evolutionary Sleeper. Same as above.

Integral Birth. Starts off cool, followed by a melodic part, some strange clean singing over growls, repeat.

Staring to notice a pattern? Well, that may be because pretty quickly this album starts to taper off. It's one of those dilemma's...if it is good music, then it's not bad if it all more or less is the same? As is often the case with album's like that, every song on here is good. None are standouts, and none are low points. So I will say this about "Traced in Air". It has some great musicianship. Technical, complex and intricate guitar passages, great drumming that perfectly matches the music. Honestly, the music is pretty brilliant.

However, here are some problems. The vocals are very difficult. Like with "Focus" they are not clean vocals per se. They are still those robotic vocals. Not all the time, there is plenty of natural singing but overall the clean vocals, (both of them) just sound awful. The sound of the guitar is different. I was going to say strange but it's not, just different. With this release Cynic took a step even farther away from death metal. In fact they took a step from metal in general. It's still there though. They also seemed to have moved a bit from jazz, though it as well is still there. Cynic appears to have moved in a truer progressive direction. This album has a very spacey feel to it. Also, while I am not a stickler for production, (unless its terrible it has no sway on me) the production here is one other issue. It is not bad, but strange. I'm sure its what they wanted, but I have a tough time hearing all easily, sounds like a bit of a mess.

So, what to say about this spacey, jazz-metal album? It has the essential musicianship we'd expect from Cynic, but is overall slow, and drags often. It was physically difficult for me to listen to. Not great, not bad. The pros dont really outweigh the cons or vice versa. Therefore I give "Traced in Air"

Three Stars

Report this review (#284972)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars If not unique, Cynic are a very rare case of band. 14 years after their debut "Focus" (a classic for prog metal fans), here is their second album, "Traced In Air".

Some of the members' projects released in the meanwhile proved a musical turn to softer and more melodic sound (Masvidal's Aeon Spoke) or an even more experimental jazzy approach (Malone's Gordian Knot). However, except Masvidal's melodic vocals, the result in Cynic's second album has little to do with these projects and even with their debut. Dutch metal/fusion guitarist Tymon Kruidenier (also in Exivious) has replaced Jason Gobel. He also does all the brutal vocals in the album, which are usually sang in the background alongside Masvidal's melodic voice, who probably has left growl singing in the past.

The album begins with "Nunc Fluens", a 3-minute intro, which ends with magnificent riffing. "The Space for This" shows the band's maturity over time in full display. This is one of the best prog metal songs I've listened to the last years. Technically superb, it sounds new and fresh, and also reminds of classic 90's prog metal with a jazzy twist, typical of Cynic. However, as usual, Cynic are totally unpredictable, and this is always a benefit for the band. "Evolutionary Sleeper" starts off and Masvidal's vocals are added as a surprising factor. His singing is very technical now and what he plays on the guitar is completely unbelievable, especially the solo. "Integral Birth" continues on the same level in a more dramatic vein and fades out, before "The Unknown Guest" fades in as an answer. This is one of the very few weak points in this album, as well as the album's final song "Nunc Stans", which is not bad, but it isn't enough.

I can't write a review of "Traced In Air" without mentioning anyhting about the skillfull playing (to say the least) of Cynic. I believe that Sean Malone and Sean Reinert comprise one of the best rhythm sections ever in progressive music. They are completely unstoppable, they always manage to give a fantastic groove to all songs and leave the field for the jazzy and yet so metal elegant style of Masvidal and Kruidenier.

Great album, a near masterpiece.

Report this review (#300909)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
5 stars Blown away by complexity, mesmerized by simplicity.

Traced in Air, Cynic's second debut after being formed 21 years prior, is a valorous effort after the impressive Focus debut. Fantastic instrumental pieces, that trippy vocoder sound, and just beautiful music all together, there is little doubt this album is 5(+) stars. Immediately after being added to my collection, it became one of my favorite prog metal album out of ALL of my albums (which are a lot).

Nunc Fluens is a nice and short little opener, with a building sensation that crescendos near the end into a fantastic instrumental section with subtle background vocals. Right of the bat 2 minutes in, I'm hooked.

The Space for This starts off slow with great melodic guitar, and Masvidal's "vocals" come in. Very progressive, very nice, very epic. Soon it breaks into what we love about Cynic: some jazz fusion epicness. The whole track is amazing, great lyrics, great guitar work, that epic bass, and amazing drums (I am a drummer, I tend to pay special attention to that!).

Evolutionary Sleeper is easily the best track on the album. Similar to the previous track, melodic guitar opens, then breaks into a slightly distorted sound with some amazing instrumentation.

Integral Birth is a slower song once you get into it, after the intro, and into the verses. The chorus is catchy, with a very nice sound going with the guitar. It is very similar to much of Misha Mansoor of Periphery's outside work with bands such as Haunted Shores, as well as the band Scale the Summit's guitar sound.

The Unknown Guest opens similarly as the rest, a great riff, then breaking into harder riffs and more jazzy-fusion-y sections.

Adam's Murmur opens with a vocal piece this time, but then opens into the traditional sound like the rest of the album. There's a melodic chorus, but other than that the track doesn't stick out like Evolutionary Sleeper.

Kings of Those Who Know is the longest track on the album (running just over 6 minutes), with a nice melodic guitar-synth sound and a chorus coming in early on. It is definitely one of the better tracks on the album. Fantastic transitions, fantastic instrumentation, fantastic everything!

Nunc Stans closes the album with slower melodies and riffs, but is still a fantastic track.

Overall, the album is fantastic. Vocoded vocals give Masvidal's vocals (if he has any) that nice touch of experimentalism and his creative guitar playing is a great sound. All the songs are catchy and have great instrumentation. The album is just fantastic. If you see a copy and do not own it, buy it immediately!

Report this review (#304791)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Traced In Air' - Cynic (10/10)

Back in 1994, progressive metal band Cynic disbanded, leaving a string of demos and a debut which has since gone on to be considered a classic of the genre. Suffice to say, with the band members moving onto different projects, in seemed as if this band would go down in history as being a one-album wonder; the sort of act that metalheads could speculate over for years, wondering what other great albums could have come to fruition, had the band simply stayed together. A good twelve years pass, and it is announced finally that these pioneers of 'jazz metal' have decided to get back together, and another two after that before this, their second album would hit shelves worldwide. Although fans would have every right to worry whether or not the follow-up to their beloved 'Focus' would be worth the wait, Cynic's comeback effort 'Traced In Air' not only matches the intensity and intelligence of 'Focus', but rather triumphs over it, creating a record that would be otherwise perfect, were it not for its somewhat disappointing brevity.

Back are the technical riffs, ethereal atmospherics, jazz inflections and distinct 'robot' vocals that made 'Focus' such a unique organism back in the day. However, with plenty of time now for each musician to develop a more distinct sound for the band, 'Traced In Air' does feel like the album the band was meant to make. Technically vicious, progressive, and- surprisingly enough for a band labelled as death metal- some beautifully done melodies. Although there's no question while listening to any song on 'Traced' that it is well-fitting of the technical and progressive labels, project mastermind Paul Masvidal has a very melodic side to his music here that really props the act onto another level entirely. While each composition is tightly arranged and sharply delivered with solos, scales and all, there is the sense that beyond the metal madness are pieces of songwriting that could easily be transposed into heartfelt pop songs. Have no fear though; while the melodies are memorable and even 'catchy', there's nothing but complexity and depth to the instrumentation and arrangement of this album.

Something that is sure to be a divisive point among fans will continue to be Masvidal's signature harmonized vocorder vocal work. While comparisons have been made to that of a 'robot' or even as far as being labelled as blatant auto-tune, Paul makes it clear in the more subdued moments of the record that his voice is emotive and sharp regardless of any technologies. The use of a harmonizer in his voicework stands as a creative decision, and considering the rather spacey feel of the album, it does work well. Although the band has been called 'death metal' quite often in part due to the band's intermittent use of growls in the past, it is mostly clean singing here, which is quite a bit better done than the somewhat sparse growls of Tymon Kruidenier on the album, which feel at times quite out of place in the album.

In terms of musicianship, there's no surprise here; great performances from these legends, as well as some incredible guitar riffs and solos. Sean Reinert's drumwork does not feel as if it is done a complete justice however; some of Reinert's best moments here are during the jazzier sections, but it is a bit difficult to make out the details sometimes under the constant psychedelic effects and guitar-driven nature of the album.

A highly philosophic and intelligent metal album that could even be said to weave its way into the spiritual realm, there is no doubt that 'Traced In Air' is among the best metal albums released in its decade, although it will certainly be panned by the most 'true' metalheads wanting nothing more from this band than growls and 'evil' riffs. The only thing that keeps the album from being truly perfect is that it always ends far sooner than I would like it to. At only over the half hour mark, it almost always feels like a journey that could have done with at least another ten minutes of the same quality added onto it, considering the fourteen year wait. However, brief as it may be, Cynic has released another classic with 'Traced In Air'; this will be an album that will be listened to by metalheads decades from now, mark my words.

Report this review (#407668)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The follow-up (14 years later!) to the ground-breaking, ear-defying 1994 classic, Focus, shows a mellower though technically and sonically still-amazing group of more-melodic metal extremists.

Beginning with the opener, Nunc Fluens" (2:57) (9/10) the band makes it clear that it has pregressed but that it is still heavy metal. 2. The Space for This" (5:47) (8/10) starts off so mellowly that I thought it was a pop song that my daughter likes to dance to (an Adele song, I believe). But, by 1:30 it has kicked into Cynic-drive--even including a few growls. Still there is this kind of melodic, less-edgy feel to their new album. Fully half of the eight songs here begin and carry throughout a softer side.

Favorite pieces: "King of Those Who Know" (6:09) (9/10) and the albums two "Nunc" bookends. Except for "Adam's Murmur" (6/10), the rest are all solid 7 or 8s.

Report this review (#459429)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Traced In Air is easily the most impressive album I own. At this point, I would say that I've listened to this album, hundreds of times, and not one of which has been a let down.

Let me first state, that there is some excellent Jazz Fusion work on this album. Intense guitar riffs, intricate tremolo picking. With the mixture of bass slides, steady and expansive drum sections, and ethereal clean guitar interludes, it is a truly unique mix. It is a continuous flow, a musical evolution progressing from one song to the next.

With as intense as this album is, it has a very calming, and peaceful air about. Almost, behind the music, you can feel a soft silence. It's not abrasive in any sense despite the instrumental uses, and constant push of the album. A lot of albums that have an ethereal/space rock essence leave you feeling mildly isolated, whereas this album seems to do the exact opposite, and tears down any barriers you may have.

It tends to be extremely rare to find albums that grow with a person, and I believe Trace In Air does this with great vitality.

Despite the fact there may be many albums I enjoy, and some I've rated with five stars; if I could rate only one album with such a distinction, this would be it.

It contains superb compositions.

Has a wonderful feeling, which progresses with you.

Aesthetically, the album has amazing artwork by Robert Venosa, and excellent lyrical compositions (which I usually heavily abandon lyrics while engaged in musical listening).

And overall, is one album I believe belongs in every progressive fans collections.

Alas, I don't want to over emphasize with words, so go check it out for yourself.

Report this review (#506284)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first time I spun this album I was confused about the music as it was so complex for me at the beginning. As I was so curious about Sean Malone's technical capabilities with his chapman stick, I kept spinning it many times and it surprisingly grew on me. One thing I can say about this album is that the whole album sounds like a one track to me as many times I realized when I tried to re-spin I was not aware that the music listening session reached to track 5 without I really noticed when the transition between one song to another. It's quite well understood as the music this album offers is basically containing many changes in nuances from complex music arrangements that sometime changes dramatically into silent parts.

The album contains many textures and soundscapes like demonstrated from the opening track Nunc Fluens (2:56) where the intro part indicates atmospheric session followed with floating drumwork. It's really a great opening. It a short track but it sets the whole nuance of the album. The transistion to next track does not sound noticeable as the first track suddenly stop followed with guitar fills that opens up second track The Space For This (5:46) where the nuance changes differently from previous track. This second track is really excellent. I like the drumming work and the combined clean and growling vocals augmented with stunning guitar work. I think this kind of music is something that I never heard, it's so unique. The guitar solo is so stunning!

Evolutionary Sleeper (3:35) also starts with guitar fills and I do not notice that it changes to another track. The music is similar with previous track but it does not make me boring. There are great stops as the music flows. For some reason it reminds me to Mars Volta sorts of music / style. The other remaining tracks are excellent - all of them: Integral Birth (3:53) -- I like the drumming part; The Unknown Guest (4:13); Adam's Murmur (3:29); King Of Those Who Know (6:09); and Nunc Stans (4:13).

I think this album is really an excellent music offering from Cynic even though the album is short in duration. But the music is truly great! It's different than the other kind of music with metal elements. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#546776)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Integral Rebirth...

I first saw these guys supporting Opeth along with The Ocean back in 2008. I liked what I heard, and promptly decided to check out their début release, 'Focus'. I don't remember much about it other than it stayed in my music collection for about one day, the reason being that it scared me! Well not exactly, but I remember finding the combination of album art and album sound to be very unsettling. It might sound a bit ridiculous, it is a bit ridiculous, but music can be surprising sometimes.

I pretty much forgot about Cynic for a couple of years after the 'Focus' incident, but after reading the glowing reviews enjoyed by 'Traced in Air' I decided to revisit this artist. I'm not sure whether my taste in music has adapted that much or 'Traced in Air' is simply more accessible, but I do actually enjoy listening to it. The sound is quite unique, and has an almost ethereal quality to it. The album is very short by today's standards, at just over half an hour its the equivalent of a modern EP, but I think this is to its credit as I find tech-metal is best enjoyed in short, concentrated bursts.

The only thing that I don't enjoy about 'Traced in Air' is the vocals. The growls seem weak, and the autotuned clean sections can get a bit irritating after a while.

The Verdict: A solid release that is likely to receive polarised opinions, so certainly worth checking out for yourself.

Report this review (#562222)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Cynic's Traced in Air is a quick, stimulating blast of intelligent and intelligible technical metal. Most of the music is a labyrinth of cacophonic yet orderly passages. The electric guitar tones remain tasteful throughout, while the bass and drummer are in synch and amazingly constricted in their executions of complex musical transitions. The growling serves as a supplemental vocal that fills out the sound rather than assuming center stage. Further enhancing the sound is a liberal use of electronic effects and tones, particularly on the lead vocals. I believe this is an excellent album for the uninitiated with respect to technical progressive metal- but be warned: Even just getting one's feet wet will mean getting soaked occasionally.

"Nunc Fluens" The intensity of the album builds in a piercing stream of noise and percussion. Just as the barrage of sound takes shape, it inexplicably tapers off.

"The Space for This" Gentle, clean electric guitar and soft, pensive vocals become a far more intense but melodic experience. While not exactly jazz, the music is smooth and yet retains a mechanical feel. Soon, however, the music returns to a technical heavy metal reminiscent to me of Celldweller, particularly with respect to the layered vocals. I consider this one of the greatest songs in the Tech/Extreme Metal category.

"Evolutionary Sleeper" A rhythmic workout, "Evolutionary Sleeper" contains various tempos and textures, all featuring high-pitched vocals with a lower octave (again, similar to Celldweller or The Mars Volta). The lead guitar has a pleasant tone and is an impressive highlight, suggestive of Douglas Ott.

"Integral Birth" Rife with further discharges of speedy progressive metal, the fourth track is kept interesting with abrupt shifts in mood and tone, although overall it remains a fairly consistent dark metal song, laden with growls and walls of guitar.

"The Unknown Guest" This song is one of most exciting in terms of lead guitar passages. The washes of growls serve as a pleasant contrast to the high-pitched vocals. The piece remains rhythmically engaging with excellent drumming.

"Adam's Murmur" Returning to quieter moods, the beginning of this piece is sporadically interrupted by blasts of heavy metal phrases. The electric guitar solo is fluid, while the drummer tightly holds the musical twists together with incredible precision.

"King of Those Who Know" Initially soft, Cynic's longest track on this album (at only just over six minutes) is in my opinion the low point of an otherwise stellar album. The bass guitar may outshine the other instruments here, but the composition is simply too convoluted. Whereas the music was tight and navigable, "Kings of Those Who Know" launches itself in seemingly every direction at once. The jazz guitar conclusion is lovely.

"Nunc Stans" The denouement of this trippy tech meal excursion is laidback and more psychedelic.

Report this review (#575761)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The technical, experimental metal subgenres have come a long way since Cynic's debut album, and the band may have been dormant for well over a decade before reforming, but if Traced In Air feels like it's lagging a little bit behind the cutting edge, it's only half a step behind. Once again, as on Focus, Cynic prove themselves to be masters of blending death metal riffage and masterful technical intricacies, and even if the sort of technical death metal they, Atheist, and Death pioneered back in the day isn't quite so shocking and avant-garde any more, it's still a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.
Report this review (#733201)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#820383)
Posted Friday, September 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Cynic "Traced In Air" 10/10

This album...oh man this album. I have no doubt that I have easily listened to this beyond awesome LP hundreds of times; Traced In Air is truly the epitome of a perfect album. It has all the elements required for an album of its type, and hits the bar way up there for Prog albums. It has the perfect blend of partially heavy prog riffs, to lighter, easy sections with clean guitar. Cynic seemed to have everything together when writing/recording/producing this album, as the result is an incredible composition of art.

This album was released after a 12 year disbanding, and the reforming was accepted with incredible love and celebration. The material is composed of bits and pieces that the members have had adding up over the years since the release of their 1993 debut "Focus" With Traced In Air, the replacement of old guitarist found on Focus was done by Tymon Kruidenier, who does guitar work as well as death growls on this album. With so much time between releases, it is an incredible relief that Traced In Air delivered perfectly what was anticipated.

The clean vocals, done by Paul Masvidal, contain an almost un-human robotic sound to them. Accompanied occasionally by Amy Correia, doing clean back-up vocals, and Tymon Kruidenier, doing the album's death growls, the singing on this LP are done extremely well, and perfectly run along side each track. Full of emotion, the singing, unique and incredible, do an excellent job delivering the lyrics, creating the perfect atmosphere that I feel Cynic has attempted, and succeeded, in setting up. The lyrical work found throughout the album has a unique feel and sound to them, unlike most I have seen other bands produce. "I touch the string though the harp may not sing/Still I dig the sky for sun sparks to guide/Down below there's a land with an ominous hole/Dug deep in the sand of belief" lyrics found in the album's fourth track "Integral Birth" help demonstrate this; The lyrics, though definitely beautiful and smooth, hold a mysterious sound to them. I simply can't do anything but love them.

One thing I really enjoy in music, though have trouble writing in my own compositions, is effective and well placed layering. Cynic's Traced In Air does an exceedingly awesome job of this technique. The harmonies placed over the rhythmic low end in some songs, with the incredible singing to push it all beyond the line of seeing-the-earth-from-space-awesome. The kind of awesome that catches your breath and says "Hold on, you're going to really enjoy this" The work has been done with incredible skill , despite the fact that the layers are definitely not a feature of the album, but a warm fuzzy side effect of this great piece of art.

The shifts from technical to slow and simple are done with incredible finesse. Cynic truly has this technique mastered on this LP; Excellent transitioning is a great aspect to find on some of the best Prog albums, assisting in the push of Traced In Air to many of these lists. The first two tracks prove as a breathtaking example of this. "Nunc Fluens" and "The Space For This" respectfully, transition between the incredible build up that is the album's intro track "Nunc Fluens" to the start of "The Space For This" which holds on to simple and easygoing sounds Cynic has been able to show they know how to do well. Following this is a fantastic transition into the bulk of the song, which is a progressive wonder. This pattern continues without any disappointment from myself throughout the LP.

The drumming on this album is a style I love. This genre houses some incredible drumming, but the work done by original member and drummer, Sean Reinert, is above and beyond a lot of what I hear done by others. His style is unique and awe-inspiring. Additionally, it does an incredible job of flowing with the music, and can be highlighted in some sections of the album, becoming the bricks and mortar both of the album at different times. Reinert's style I find is a fantastic blend of technical and simplicity, becoming the correct style at the correct time. Every time. Additionally, I love the sound of the drums throughout the album. I can assume this is the mixing/mastering at work, however, Reinert's choice of weapon, the Tama Starclassic Performer, is a drum kit that sounds like love and fire, accompanied by the danger of electricity. So it could be arguably both an editing sound, or instrument sound, either way, it sounds amazing, and plays well with this style.

After an abundance of hours spent listening to this masterpiece, I find I can never get bored of this grand display of art. Each time it somehow offers itself as a fresh composition, never letting go of its incredible sound and fantastic track-list. The progressive and jazz elements of this album are perfectly accompanying each other, much like a musical Romeo and Juliet; The two genres have met once again, this time on Traced In Air, and instantly render as beautiful and beyond awesome.

I am certain this LP has many millions of plays ahead of it.

Report this review (#849863)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars "We've been on an amazing journey discovering this new music and soon it will be yours. Expect the unexpected. The album is an intensely concentrated mosaic of internal and external energies, from the deepest peace to the purest aggression. There's an acquired taste that comes with a record of this density, but once your ears wrap themselves around the language at work, everything falls into place and suddenly you'll feel a sudden urge to sing, scream or maybe even cry. The album has a beginning, middle and end. The story will reveal itself after numerous listens and then you may not want to let go. Besides Reinert and I, Tymon brought some new life force and magic to the record with fierce growling and poetic guitar sensibilities. Malone also did a fine job with the low end, grooving away with Reinert in a pocket land from hell!" - Paul Masvidal to Blabbermouth, July 2008

After more than a decade from their debut, the band reunion results their 2008 album, Traced In Air. The album has the same atmospheric and progressive jazz fusion tendencies mixed together with technical death metal, played by the real pioneers of the techdeath genre. Some fans aren't happy enough with this album, cause the leading vocals are less focused on brutality, but the robotic singing. Well, this album is much more detailed and reaches the same full level as the previous one. It's funny to compare the two full lenghts with the first demos and recordings from the band, something in a pure and brutal death/thrash metal form, like Possessed. The first track and last (Nunc Fluens and Nunc Stans) has different philosophies of time. "Nunc fluens facit tempus, nunc stans facit aeternitatum. (The now that passes produces time, the now that remains produces eternity.)" - Boethius. This album has one of the best drum records ever made, in my opinion.

Space For This is just perfect. The song starts slowly and atmospheric, and the progressive, melodic technical songwriting are awesome. The whole instrumentation kickasses. This song makes me feel floating in space. I like the balance between extreme fusion and melodic tunes. Well, the guitar solos are majestic. Evolutionary Sleeper has the same vibe. The drums are outstanding. Integral Birth is beautiful right from the intro. These guys has the hability to jump from agression into a deep slowly passage and back to the heaviness suddenly as hell. The Unknown Guest is another great track, very detailed, and it features creepy tribal vocalizations. Listening to this, you just can't stop any track, the complexity and awesome unexpected riff sequence makes this one of the most catchy albums into the hardcore technical music. Adam's Murmur is good, but it's my least favorite track, and lucky as I am, my cd version includes Adam's Murmur demo. I will explain. This song is cool but too "alternative" for the album. Yeah, it's heavy and wouldn't fit into Aeon Spoke (the alternative rock project from Cynic members), but it's melodic ENOUGH for Cynic. I know, you may say "the whole stuff is melodic enough" comparing with the previous releases, but that's MY point of view. King of Those Who Know reaches the peak of complex songwriting, too many variations, a catchy but hard listening track. Pretty unique album. A must to any prog rock collector.

Report this review (#1005708)
Posted Friday, July 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars At the edge of the in between. If you're into guitar tones and tech, you know that you have listen to music that is not always going to be your cup of tea in order to find out if there's something new going on. And so it was with me when I first listened to Cynic's debut album Focus back in 1993. It was as different as people described it to be. Part death metal, part jazz fusion, robotic vocals, extremely technical and definitely progressive. I did not like the growling death metal scene but the album definitely stood out. The players were fantastic, first off, and that drew me in. I just didn't know what to make of it at the time. The band broke up one year later and every now and again I would replay this fascinating oddity. I knew the band went through several incarnations with key members Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone over the years under various other band names that were described as more pedestrian so I really never bothered to pursue following up on them. I believe the core trio reformed Cynic in 2007 (with Tymon Kryduidenier) and recorded and released this follow up to Focus in 2008 titled Traced In Air. With the death growls toned way down and Masvidals vocals less effected by Vocoder processing than on Focus, the album struck me immediately as a compromise, which was disappointing as the group still displayed links with the jazz fusion territory they cut into on Focus and demonstrated some absolute clinics in technical proficiency on the tracks Space For This, Evolutionary, The Unknown Guest, and King Of Those Who Know. I found a more middle ground approach on TIA with a more straight up metal style drumming from Reinert (with lightning fast tom fills and his bass drumming still stunning at times when not doing repetitive obligatory bass drum death fills) but with a more mundane bass rhythm backing from Malone (very disappointing as the man is a master of the fretless when he can cut loose.) Masivdal is the star of the album with some stellar leads and the songs contained some great riffs that had a lot of muscle with addition of Tymon on rhythm guitar in addition to his growling duties. Many Prog metal fans like this album and feel that I may be have a lukewarm attitude toward it because of the little appreciation I have for death metal. The opposite is actually the truth. I may not like the restrictions of death metal but if you going to do death, than do it loud and do it proud. A middle ground album like this may not be my cup of tea but it does have many impressive moments. For starters, the production values are excellent and the sound is super dynamic without sounding compressed. The song The Unknown Guest has great primal Viking like chants instead of growls that really add to the song and give variety to the album while the song Adam's Murmur has a great start and stop rhythm structure along with a tricky dragging snare beat that really nails the song. Much of the heaviness of Focus has been replaced with lighter and more melodic hooks and riffs. Again, for me this album is a low point in between Focus and Carbon Based Anatomy EP that followed TIA in 2011. After listening to TIA again after the group released 2014's superb Kindly Bent to Free Us, my opinions have changed very little in 6 years time. Perhaps first impressions do make lasting impressions. I rank the album at 3.5 stars but that's probably more like 4.5 stars to Prog metal fans that are not such a discerning old cuss like me. And it is better than anything DT is puting out right now, so go ahead, get it and crank up the volume to eleven!
Report this review (#1196373)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are just some bands who absolutely love to cross the boundaries of musical prowess or creativity, whether a record's revolutionary or just plain amazing. Cynic, Death, and Atheist were a bit of a "Big Three" of progressive death back in the early 90's, but why? Why would they be there, other than being early? Many reasons could come up, but those 3 simply had more creativity and talent at the time. Most technical metal bands today rely heavily on overly clean recording techniques and lots (and I mean lots) of sweep picking and shredding. They almost lost that sort of experimental edge of the early days.

The thing is, Cynic's first release, Focus, embodied that aforementioned experimental edge perfectly and struck a balance between the baffling and the rewarding. So many progheads were astounded at the level of technicality and emotion that went into the record, as well as individual prowess. Plus, the other thing that Cynic (along with Atheist) had that most others don't is the extremely high level of jazz fusion put into the album. The record simply did not disappoint, and it brought in newcomers of progressive music, as well as metal, and remains a legend to this day.

Traced in Air is a bit of a successor, but more of spiritual successor than an actual sequel to the original. Released 15+ years after the original, hype was high, but Cynic knew how to cater to (most) fans while bringing in new ones as well. Cynic knew not to make an easy cash-in, especially after 15 years, as fans would become ridiculously enraged at such a sight after so much anticipation. So what did Cynic do for Traced in Air?

They topped the original.

One thing that received mixed opinions was the level of accessibility this album has, and it is indeed more accessible to listen to. However, that doesn't detract from such an experience as this. The instrumentalists are still top-notch, as is their quality. Paul Masvidal's odd robotic vocals have been swapped for better, more regular vocals. The growls are cleaner as well, and drums are as technical as ever. Now think of that, and, on top of that, cleaner production. You basically get a recipe for success.

The influences on this album are more diverse as well. You'll get some King Crimson here and there, a bit of Rush, some Porcupine Tree, and so on. Cynic spreads these influences out and put in their own signature sound, creating something truly unique and never seen before in progressive metal.

Of course then, you'd need a strong opening, right? Well, the beginning is MUCH different from the one seen previously in Veil of Maya. That one bursts out of the gate, while Nunc Fluens offers more of a traditional prog intro, but has unique synth effects and tribal drumming. The track is somewhat mesmerizing and offers an excellent introduction to the album.

The following songs contain a phenomenal amount of quality, as well as new crazy twists and turns. "The Space for This" has such a dreamy intro with the vocals aiding to that effect, before it builds into an epic riff going to the verse. The same structure goes for "King of Those who Know," one of the highlights of the record. It has female-type vocals to begin, and builds up to an amazing verse.

"Evolutionary Sleeper" is unique all its own, and features some of Paul Masvidal's best vocals as it clocks in at 3:34, one of the shortest tracks. More power to it, as the concise feel of the song is very tight in instrumentation and production. The growls are also featured here, as well as in other places. The chorus is quite dreamy, and then a jazzy solo ends the song. Great stuff.

Now's time to talk about individual talents. First of, it seems that Paul Masvidal has improved tenfold on this album, and it shows. The vocals are a huge plus here, especially on "Integral Birth," which has a bit more of an accessible feel to it. Gone are the weird robotic effects, and now semi-normal vocals take place with the assistance of a digitized "octave voice." His guitar solos are now more concise as well, and still very excellent.

Sean Reinart just destroys the drums here, showing his best performance yet. On "The Space for This," his technical drumming permeates the whole ordeal, while never being too overbearing. He has such a unique and fresh drumming style. The other members keep up as well, too, providing a nice pace for Masvidal and Reinart to shine.

Overall, this album is an odd entity, and one that is truly mind-blowing. Any fan of progressive metal/rock should not miss this, and it's taken a lot more as an experience.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1445845)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

CYNIC Traced In Air ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of CYNIC Traced In Air

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives