Cynic
Carbon-Based Anatomy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
November 5th, 2011 | 822 replies | 52,407 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: From the deepest parts of the Amazon, to all corners of the universe, Cynic's "Carbon-Based Anatomy" is a beautiful and challenging journey that sees the band expand their sound further than ever before.

To transpose, to redefine-such indelible actions are how a musical artist or institution goes about evolving their sound to achieve and sustain relevancy. An unwillingness to follow such guidelines typically leads to a backlash against a band’s refusal to progress. Cynic is aware of this fact, and has been for years, not so subtly undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts for the past two decades. With roots running deep into death metal territory, Cynic’s seminal release Focus, is oft heralded as a defining moment for the genre, as well as metal in general. Its jazz tinged progressive style of traditional death metal turned heads then, and it still manages to turn heads today. But why then, would a band who so comfortably filled a niche, decide to redefine themselves for a modern age? 2008’s Traced in Air deftly answered this question, and their latest release, Carbon Based Anatomy does as well, displaying that through musical evolution a band can still revolutionize even twenty years into their career.

What Cynic have done here is nothing short of exceptional. Not only has the band played perfectly off of their 2008 comeback, but they've has managed to expand themselves further, re-writing conventions and tearing down barriers. Odd, this experimental nature, considering as a group Cynic should be well set in its ways. Yet that isn’t the way they work, the men of Cynic, as merely “settling” isn’t in their blood. Instead, they release Carbon-Based Anatomy, a small collection of songs that once more sees the band leaving its past behind, whilst sternly looking towards the future.

Carbon-Based Anatomy, despite sounding decidedly Cynic, is actually unlike anything they’ve released before. This may seem somewhat jarring, considering they’ve all but completely shed their death metal roots in exchange for something much more atmospheric. The riffs and technical guitar work that have been a staple of their work has been replaced with a more texture based sound. Less flashy for sure, but it goes a long way in giving the EP a distinct and wonderful sound.

Although Carbon-Based Anatomy holds within it some of Cynic’s best work, it’s a little light on content. With a 20 minute or so run time, the record is slim as is, which is only exacerbated by a glut of interludes. Taken at face value, these interludes are mere filler; a superficial attempt at musical profundity. However, if the EP is listened to as a cohesive whole, their addition is invaluable. They not only add a beautiful, provocative atmosphere, but they make the band sound like something bigger, something more human. Strange, considering the cold, calculated songwriting paired with the “robotic” vocals have typically been anything but human. Yet the lesser emphasis on the enhanced vocals, as well as the greater emphasis on warm textures and enveloping atmospheres has made Carbon-Based Anatomy the most relate-able and humanistic thing the band has ever done.

The EP is filled with three outstanding tracks, and a few excellent interludes to boot. It opens up with shamanic female vocals, sung in a strange foreign tongue, yet ends in “all corners of the universe.” It’s simply an excellent aural journey that sees the band explore the expanses of space, as well as themselves. The title track is a sure fire stand-out, featuring spectacular guitar work and a bigger, bolder sound. It definitely feels closer to Traced In Air than the rest of the record, as it has some great moments in which it hearkens back to the bands death metal leaning sound. Slightly, but it’s there. Not to be outdone, “Box Up My Bones” comes in about halfway through, and is a perfect amalgamation of new and old. The atmosphere is palpable, and the “robot” vocals are sparsely used. As stated earlier, the interludes don’t stand too tall on their own, but when listened to with the rest of the record, they are absolutely necessary. They add an ambiance, and they allow for the tracks to blend seamlessly together. “Hieroglyph,” with its dreamy, spoken word segment, is a perfect way to finish the album, which parallels the opener’s more mysterious and primal feeling.

Carbon-Based Anatomy isn’t so much of a change in direction as it is a natural progression. This transition may prove jarring, and even disheartening for some, but for many, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air. The lacking death metal influences and riffs will be somewhat missed, but they are absent for the sake of something grander and something larger in scope. Carbon-Based Anatomy is both a wonderful reflection and a glimpse towards the future. And the future, well, it looks bright indeed.



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Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
TheSpaceMan (3)
Cynic created a promising album that falls short in its presentation....

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Cynic’s future looks bright....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 6th 2011



10593 Comments


Probably wrote too much about this and rambled way too fucking much but this is awesome.

KILL
November 6th 2011



71454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

sweet too tired to read but yea

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

DarthMann
November 6th 2011



13815 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 6th 2011



10593 Comments


Also, this isn't to take anything away from someguest's really well-written review, it's just that I've had this written for awhile, and despite having the same rating I had some other things to say.

someguest
November 6th 2011



20393 Comments


to all corners of the universe,


Awesome.

Taken at face value, this interludes are mere filler;


these interludes?

This review is excellent, and you don't need to explain your reason for posting it.



theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

kill people burn shit fuck school

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 6th 2011



10593 Comments


Thanks Someguest, I appreciate it. Fixed that too, thank you : ]


And hi acad?

KILL
November 6th 2011



71454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

schools a job and you dont get paid

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^TITRA

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i like tesseract a lot less than i thought i did

Rev
November 6th 2011



9407 Comments


I don't like Cynic, should I still check this out?

balcaen
November 6th 2011



3183 Comments


agh. this just doesn't work for me. sorry.

feels like the cynic equivalent of Ghost (the devin townsend project), only cynic is always better than DT so of course this is alright.

Rev
November 6th 2011



9407 Comments


But Ghost was still way better than Deconstruction

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no decon >>> ghosst dueh

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

decon has the farting sounds it rules

balcaen
November 6th 2011



3183 Comments


DT sounds like shit all the time guys decon = ghost

Relinquished
November 6th 2011



24922 Comments


so wrong

KILL
November 6th 2011



71454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

balcaen is gay

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



28431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

balcaen is the kinda guy who pees sitting down

coneren
November 6th 2011



11111 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh man



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