Cynic
Carbon-Based Anatomy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthew D. French USER (50 Reviews)
November 10th, 2011 | 121 replies | 5,013 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cynic’s future looks bright.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Call me crazy, ignorant, disillusioned, or whatever else you deem necessary, but Traced in Air was just not as good as people made it out to be. I know, I know, I’m in the minority here and that album is held in high regard by many, but it felt all a little too hindered by its production, had very little emotional depth, and came off as homogeneous. The songs were undeniably good, but they were also blemished by uniformity - mostly attributed to the production of the record - because everything was buried in a dim shade of color and had an ‘airy’ aura lingering about. However, Traced in Air was, at the very least, interesting and unique enough to warrant praise for one simple reason: Cynic redefines their sound with each subsequent release. This is a pretty obvious notion, especially when looking to their past. Focus was one of the most inventive albums of the ‘90s, lauded by many as one of the most important progressive metal albums of its time and of all-time. Saturating their Floridian take on death metal with jazz, Cynic seamlessly weaved these genres and more - alternating between heavy-hitting death metal and more serene, delicate passages - into one cohesive package. Carbon-Based Anatomy follows this trend of ever-changing-sound and once again sees Cynic branching out into daringly new and exciting territory. With the inclusion of theatricality, ambiance, and brief interstitials reflecting distinct cultural sounds, Cynic have managed to make an EP that challenges some of their best work to date, gracefully pulling away from the fanciful guitar-work and consistent pacing of past releases and instead opting for something much more textural and atmospheric.

Traced in Air was, as aforementioned, mostly focused on Cynic’s more delicate side; pushing the death growls further back and focusing more on its surroundings. But I digress, Carbon-Based Anatomy is most akin to Traced in Air’s euphonious sound: it’s very approachable, light-hearted, etc., except this time Cynic’s sound is awash in brilliant colors. Carbon-Based Anatomy still retains the lightly toned essence that pervaded every inch of Traced in Air, but it also feels very different from anything they’ve done before. The death growls Cynic is well known for are absolutely nowhere to be found here, and moreover the EP is sung with mostly clean, unfiltered vocals. The reduction of vocoder was actually a fantastic decision: on “Box Up My Bones” Paul Masvidal shows the beauty of his natural voice as he breaks into a chorus backed by a choir and Sean Reinert’s masterful drumming. ‘Chants’ and ‘croons’ are two words that seem like they wouldn’t fit with Cynic’s repertoire, but it goes to show that this band is capable of branching out in any direction they choose. These lovely vocal croons make the songs almost feel like they were designed to be sung along to, lending guitar hooks and tasteful drumming to elevate a cast of brilliant voices in each song.

Carbon-Based Anatomy hits the mark so unbelievably well at times that it’s guaranteed to satiate and tie-over the many fans clamoring for a new Cynic album, my only gripe with it is there simply isn’t enough. At 23 minutes, this is one of the shorter EPs of their career, but it also makes it that much easier to digest as well. Call it a double-edged sword: nothing overstays its welcome or meanders but it’s also a little bit of a tease -- some of the best moments are fleeting, never truly opening up or evolving into something more. “Amidst The Coals”, despite being a wondrously gorgeous piece of music - utilizing wind-chimes, flute, and an exotic melody - flees before it ever really gets the chance to materialize into something greater. “Much the same, “Bija!” and “Hieroglyph” both don’t take enough time to explore. The former brilliantly places the listener in a middle-eastern bazaar as indistinguishable vocal intonations - evocative of African chant - weave in and out, and the latter buzzes along with harmonies and spoken-word both floating over this daydream-like aesthetic of ambiance. The dichotomy between these brief experimental tracks and the actual songs on the album makes Carbon-Based Anatomy a thrilling and varied experience, if not a little aimless in direction. It seems like Cynic is toying with some profound and deeply spiritual elements, trying to find a way to integrate them into their sound, so perhaps the unprecedented “Amidst The Coals,” “Bija!,” and “Hieroglyph” are precursors for some masterpiece, but as it stands the ideas need to be fleshed out

While all of this seems fresh and exciting, Cynic’s sound is certainly becoming more streamlined. The absence of growls, the reduction of vocoder - it all points to one thing: Cynic is opening up to a much broader demographic. No matter which way you slice it, these guys are slowly creeping up the ladder of progression most metal bands tend to make, but that isn’t a bad thing, because what’s being done here feels very natural and fluid. However, they’re also squandering brilliance by showcasing some very imaginative ideas that need to be more thoroughly explored. Most of what they’ve thrown at the wall works though, and Masvidal’s vocals feel much more organic and less-polished here, resulting in a short EP that manages to emote more than Traced in Air. It feels like Cynic is on the cusp of breaking down the fourth wall, and their upcoming record (slotted for an early 2012 release) might just be their tour de force, if Carbon-Based Anatomy is any indication of the direction they plan on taking. For now, Cynic fans can rejoice knowing that they’re headed in a promising, adventurous direction. It’s truly exciting.

And I don’t feel scared (I declare)
I have everything I need
This just may be hard on me
Box up my bones; I’m coming home.




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user ratings (616)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
TheSpaceMan (3)
Cynic created a promising album that falls short in its presentation....

Eli EMERITUS (4)
From the deepest parts of the Amazon, to all corners of the universe, Cynic's "Carbon-Based Anatomy"...

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Cynic fall deeper into new age philosophy and mellow out even further....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
November 10th 2011



15461 Comments


So yeah, I know this is a little unnecessary because there are already two other reviews here giving this a 4, but I wanted to pump one out just for the fun of it. Uh, well, that and I wanted to redeem myself for my piss-poor first review.

sifFlammable
November 10th 2011



2741 Comments


i remember you you were the guy who neg reviewed traced in air

massive respect traced in air was gay

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2011



21768 Comments


"Call me crazy, ignorant, disulioned, or whatever else you deem necessary, but Traced in Air was just not as good as people made it out to be."
fucking pos'd just for this

MO
November 10th 2011



18451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review

"This is a pretty obviously notion"

obvious

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

Idnuf
November 10th 2011



1491 Comments


"Call me crazy, ignorant, disulioned, or whatever else you deem necessary, but Traced in Air was just not as good as people made it out to be."
fucking pos'd just for this


You're an idiot

KILL
November 10th 2011



71250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lol

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2011



21768 Comments


"""Call me crazy, ignorant, disulioned, or whatever else you deem necessary, but Traced in Air was just not as good as people made it out to be."
fucking pos'd just for this"


You're an idiot"
gfy Traced In Air was shit

Gyromania
November 10th 2011



15461 Comments


Thanks for the correction, MetallicaOpeth. I listened to this about 15 times today, I simply can't get enough!

MO
November 10th 2011



18451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea it's such a good ep

Idnuf
November 10th 2011



1491 Comments


"""Call me crazy, ignorant, disulioned, or whatever else you deem necessary, but Traced in Air was just not as good as people made it out to be."
fucking pos'd just for this"


You're an idiot"
gfy Traced In Air was shit


Whether TiA was good or not is irrelevant, voting positively on the review because you both dislike a certain album (not even the one being reviewed) is pathetic. Before you hit me with "lol internet srs bzns", I get that it isn't a big deal, but you're still an idiot.

Gyromania
November 10th 2011



15461 Comments


C'mon, guys - let's cool our jets here. We're all friends.., right?

sifFlammable
November 10th 2011



2741 Comments


good work keep up the retard olympics

Tyrael
November 10th 2011



20798 Comments


Cool review Gyro, it looks like reading the whole thread after a few days will be a lot of fun too ;]

balcaen
November 10th 2011



3183 Comments


it's so weird to me that most people are giving this a 4. so much fanboy

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2011



21768 Comments


"Whether TiA was good or not is irrelevant, voting positively on the review because you both dislike a
certain album (not even the one being reviewed) is pathetic. Before you hit me with "lol internet srs
bzns", I get that it isn't a big deal, but you're still an idiot."
the review's well written anyway

"it's so weird to me that most people are giving this a 4. so much fanboy"
I'm hardly a fanboy I gave Traced In Air a 1.5

Idnuf
November 10th 2011



1491 Comments


not even mad/arguing with him, js he's dumb or did something dumb

good work keep up the retard olympics


irony here is that by comparing internet arguments to the special olympics you've proved that you have nothing unique to say and regurgitate what you hear everyone else say on the internet so uhhhhhh you're an idiot

Tyrael
November 10th 2011



20798 Comments


it's so weird to me that most people are giving this a 4. so much fanboy

Yeah I haven't heard it yet but KILL said it's a 4 so that'll be my rating

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2011



21768 Comments


"you have nothing unique to say and regurgitate what you hear everyone else say on the internet so uhhhhhh you're an idiot"
lol irony

sifFlammable
November 10th 2011



2741 Comments


thanks for your valuable interpretation idnuf you autistic faggot

KILL
November 10th 2011



71250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

it's so weird to me that most people are giving this a 4. so much fanboy

its so weird i know right!



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