Cynic
Traced in Air


4.5
superb

Review

by Sean USER (18 Reviews)
December 9th, 2008 | 15 replies | 3,118 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cynic successfully continues on with their incredibly unique sound while adding even more to it, and finally making an outstanding follow-up to the widely praised "Focus".

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Back in 1993, an unknown Progressive Death Metal band from Miami, Florida released a little album named Focus. Most avid Metal fans thought nothing of it when it was first released. As a matter of fact, most Metalheads were way too concerned about a new Death or Morbid Angel album to ever give two craps about some unknown bands attempts at making great music. However, over the years, Focus managed to gain the love and respect of many Metalheads who happened to find the album in bargain bins and flea markets. From then on, Focus has become a cult hit, and a must have for most any avid Metal fan these days. The founders of Cynic, which consisted of Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, later realized many years after the release of Focus that it was a bigger hit than they had ever begun to imagine. They soon began at work on a new untitled album. Now, after years of waiting and countless hours of anticipation, Cynic has released their second full-length album: Traced In Air.

The common question that most people ask about Cynic's new album is "Is it better than focus?" To be absolutely honest, no. Traced In Air, to me, is not as great as Focus. However, that does not mean that this album disappoints in any way at all. In fact, I view it as one of my favorite albums of 2008, by far. "How then", you might ask, "is it worse than Focus?" Well, it's not worse than Focus, it just has failed to reach me the way Focus did. First of all, and I think it is extremely important to point out, that Cynic's trademark "robotic" vocals are gone. Caput. Fanito. Now, as much as I hate to see them go, they have been replaced by a more high-pitched vocal tone from Masvidal. At first I missed the robotic vocals that gained Cynic so much love, but I then found myself getting into this new style.

Another major change to Cynic's sound is that they have pretty much abandoned their Death Metal roots. I know what you're probably thinking, "How can this possibly be Cynic?" Well, believe me, this IS Cynic. However, these major changes to the sound of the Cynic you once new really helps the band establish a new persona, and, hopefully, a new and more fulfilling career. On this new album, Cynic take more of a straight up Progressive Metal route than the previous Progressive Death Metal that they were known for. This actually works out really well for the band, and Masvidal proves to be a very accomplished singer. He definitely shows his singing skills much more on Traced In Air than he did on Focus. As a matter of fact, Traced In Air's vocals are mostly sung cleanly by Masvidal instead of mostly screamed like they were on Focus. The guy still knows how to write incredible songs, also. The guitar work on the new album is very reminiscent of the guitar work on the old album. "Evolutionary Sleeper" reminded me a whole lot of the opener on Focus: "Veil of Maya". This is definitely not a bad thing, since the guitar work on Focus was absolutely flawless. However, Masvidal and company have managed to insert a more melodic sound to their guitar playing than what was witnessed on Focus.

Now, the songs. Oh, the songs! I'm truly in love with this album at the moment. Truly, it is great to see that these guys still know how to make any songwriter feel insignificant with their greatly written and flawlessly performed songs. Many songs reminded me of songs on Focus, such as the one's I mentioned in the last paragraph above, while others show off Cynic's new found sound. "Space For This" is a real good example of Cynic's new sound. If you want to understand exactly what I mean when I say "they've changed", then all you need to do is listen to this song. It shows off Masvidal's superb vocals, while still hitting you with the unique Cynic sound that every Cynic fan knows them for. Simply an incredible song! While I love every single song on this album, the one's that stand out to me are: "Space For This", "Evolutionary Sleeper", "Integral Birth", "The King of Those Who Know" and "Adam's Murmer".

One thing Cynic has managed to keep around is their extremely unique sound. With odd times, fusion jazz influenced instruments, unique sounding vocals, and extremely difficult guitar riffs and solo's, this band still has the special ingredient that made Cynic and set them apart from so many other bands in their time. Even till this day, no one has been able to out-Cynic, Cynic. They have influenced countless bands, but I have never heard one come even remotely close to reminding me of Cynic's amazingly unique sound. They remain to be one of my absolute favorite bands, and they have proven with this album that every one of the members still has the fire for the music within them. I am truly happy to see this greatly talented band back on the scene, once again, and I have my fingers crossed for another album by this phenomenal band in the near future. This album may not be better than Focus to me, at the moment (just wait. I might update this, because every single time I listen to this album I fall more in love with it), it is still an exceptional release by a band who has disappeared from the Metal scene for a long time, only to reappear and release an outstanding follow-up to, in my opinion, one of the hardest albums to successfully follow-up. Yes, I do hope to see more great things from this band in the future.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Lunarfall
December 10th 2008



3177 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

NOT A 5 NEG NEG NEG

DoctorNurse
December 10th 2008



475 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I respectfully disagree. This review was far less fanboyish in tone that the other two, and as such made for a far more digestable review. Well done.

Essence
December 10th 2008



3558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol

badtaste
December 10th 2008



824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought the robo-vocals were still present on this album?

Pretty neat review.

Abaddon2005
December 10th 2008



684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they are, i would hardly call them robotic at this point though, he pointed that out in the review.

badtaste
December 10th 2008



824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Reviewer says that the robotic vocals are gone. That is quite opposite to their existence on this album.

TheSyncopath
December 10th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well to be fair, they aren't robotic. They're synthesized and processed. But they don't sound robotic like the vocals on Focus.

BallsToTheWall
December 10th 2008



44164 Comments


Yeah they do but to a lesser degree.

Xxplosive
December 10th 2008



126 Comments


Ya I wouldn't call them robotic this time around, but they sure do resemble something along the lines of it. I still need to listen to the album more, I've only taken a quick listen to it.

SCREAM!
December 10th 2008



9576 Comments


In before coke's "another 4.5 metal release......."

Good review and such

AngelPhoenix
December 10th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Review is solid.

This review was far less fanboyish in tone that the other two


Even till this day, no one has been able to out-Cynic, Cynic. They have influenced countless bands, but I have never heard one come even remotely close to reminding me of Cynic's amazingly unique sound. They remain to be one of my absolute favorite bands, and they have proven with this album that every one of the members still has the fire for the music within them



AngelPhoenix
December 10th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

lol touche

Shredzilla
December 10th 2008



501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad to see that most people are liking the review. Honestly, I have to say that the review does sound quite fanboyish at times, though, haha! What can I say? I frickin' love Cynic.

AngelPhoenix
December 11th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Fanboyism is only a bad thing when you can't back up your extreme love for a band/album with reason, examples, and good writing. You have done this my friend, welcome to the site
Your review of Still Life is killer.

Shredzilla
December 11th 2008



501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, bro. I'm also very happy to be here!



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