Review Summary: Cynic created a promising album that falls short in its presentation.
Music is a beautiful thing. When executed perfectly, it captures emotions into sound in a similar manner as painted art captures them into sight. Cynic are undeniably masters at this art, with each album collectively representing a clear direction and feeling. What they are aiming for in each release is blatant but cannot be put into words to describe exactly what that aim is, very much like human emotions themselves. Carbon Based Anatomy is no exception.
A glance at its cover art is a great preparation for what the musical experience is like (something I noticed is inherit in all of Cynic's discography). Psychedelia is present everywhere, forming an album with slow ambiance and tone-edited singing. The three longest songs are very easy listens complete with catchy choruses, great musicianship and sheer originality. Each are unique enough to be distinguishable yet clearly follow the same foot steps. The other half of the tracks are actually completely synth and instrumental, and never reach beyond the two and a half minute mark. Individually weak, they are all interesting to listen to and are short enough to serve a transitional purpose before growing stale. As such, Carbon Based Anatomy cannot be taken on through a song-by-song approach. This complements the album nicely, however, since Cynic clearly intended this to be a spiritual trip front to back.
This is surprisingly where the album fails. Its pretentious, bloated, and laughably short. One listen is so quick, the EP's "trip" is not worth remembering. Lack of defining moments that call for a respin are further hindered by catchy choruses that become annoying if a second listen is even attempted. Cynic seems to honestly be trying too hard at being "progressive" Their use of non-human vocals have grown stale and unoriginal (some could argue that it was stale by the end of Focus), and their complete disregard for a genre has turned into more of a gimmick then a quality. For lack of a better word, this album seems forced.
Despite being flawed, Carbon Based Anatomy is all throughout an interesting listen and musically impressive. The lack of boundaries in their approach to music warrants a few good songs that are good because they sound good, not because they are complicated or fast or even stand as a perfect ambassador for a genre. It is only revealed as a hollow record when looked at for its entirety, but that's exactly the approach Cynic forces you to take. Crafting such an idea into an EP was in their best interest, but ultimately gave them no room to standout and shine. Better luck next time.
Confusing summary aside, this was a pretty good first review. pos
This isn't as good as Focus, though that goes without saying, (haven't listened to traced in air yet), but it was an interesting experiment at least. The title track is awesome, and the ambient sections Really fit well with the rest of the album.
thanks for the feedback guys, clearly the summary isnt the best in the world and something ill work on if i review again. I hope i didnt come off as trashing the album too much, i did like the "filler" tracks the most to be quite honest and the second half of the title track blows anything Traced in Air had outta the water.
I really wish I could enjoy this more, it has the same feel/energy as Nunc Stans does, which was probably my fav off Traced but I stand by my review