Review Summary: With this release Cynic have perpetuated the belief that they can do no wrong1 of 6 thought this review was well written
'Carbon Based Anatomy' is a short lived, but dense and considered endeavour. It's sound is idiosyncraticly Cynic, but with various other influences and generally less heavy, more compact sound with some exotic interludes in between these songs; while on the topic of songs I'd like to mention that the tracks on this EP follow more conventional structures than previous cynic tracks and there is certainly nothing as wonderfully unusual as 'textures'.
The EP begins with the relaxed ambient piece, 'amidst the coils'. This track (like the other two interludes) feature beautiful female vocals that compliment the music wonderfully. The music itself consists of gorgeous melodic guitar parts with sparse, somewhat harmonious percussion. The combination of this produces a wonderful opener that sets the mood in good stead for the rest of the album.
As a side note I'd like to say I wish the avant garde aspects of these shorter tracks were incorporated into the main three songs, it is probably my only legitimate complaint about the album. Nonetheless the songs still have a certain experimentation about them melodically, however not so much technically. Oh... I must mention that those expecting dream theatre-esque absurd time signature changes will be sorely disappointed; it is mostly 4/4 and 6/8 with a few bars of 7 here or there. However if you approach this without certain pompous prog ideals it will be no issue.
One of the fabulous aspects of this EP is the unexplainable amount of depth sonically. I don't know whether it's the production or the musical finesse of Paul and Sean but it adds so much to the music. It's particularly noticeable on the chorus of 'Box Up My Bones', where the chords feel so heavy but not in a 'metal' way. Truly beautiful.
Also I must point out the lyrics on the album; they vary from the sublime 'Drop the knife, leave your arms behind...' section in the title track, to the wonderfully surreal musings of 'Elves Beam Out'. Lyrically, in my opinion, this is their strongest release ever.
The last thing I want to mention is the change in sound for Cynic within this record. There are obvious influences that include; indie, post rock, eno inspired ambience etc, with a diminishing or even non existent death metal influence. Yet again we have a truly creative band defining 'progression' by moving on musically into genres perhaps unfamiliar to their listeners. I applaud them for this, and upon first playing this record it will certainly feel fresh and modern.
All in all I have considerably little to complain about within this record, and a considerable amount to compliment. However, as stated previously, I would have liked a bit more structural experimentation within the songs, but this is simply a matter of taste. Never the less the dense, harmonious creations on this EP will definitely be a highlight of the year and of Cynic's career. Hence I thoroughly enjoyed this album and would encourage all lovers of music (period) to buy it now.