Cynic
Traced In Air Remixed


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey STAFF
September 25th, 2019 | 163 replies


Release Date: 09/27/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Traced in Air Remixed takes Cynic’s comeback album and gives it the modern prog sound it always deserved.

A remastered album’s reception is always going to come down to just how committed someone is to the original – sometimes nostalgia is simply going to trump any perceived improvements. It’s also going to depend on just how drastically the original’s sound is changed. If it’s relatively minor changes, such as the Metallica remasters, it’s easier for fans to accept than something drastic like Meshuggah’s Nothing remaster. There are also bands like Megadeth and Iced Earth that like to re-record certain elements of the original, as well as add and remove parts. Those types of remasters are the ones that can really divide a fan base, and that’s most likely what Traced in Air Remixed will do. For better or worse, Traced in Air Remixed isn’t just a quick cash-grab edit where they raise the volume, clean up the sound a little, and call it a day. Instead, Traced in Air Remixed gets the full re-release treatment.

For starters, this version is treated to a brand new mix courtesy of Periphery’s Adam Getgood, and an updated mastering from Ermin Hamidovic, and the difference is obvious. Fans are going to immediately notice the gritty old-school sound of the original is gone. Instead, the soundstage has been expanded and the bottom end reduced, making it much easier to hear individual performances. This has resulted in a guitar sound that is slightly thinner, punchier bass, and a drum sound that has moved back in the mix with more emphasis on cymbals. Listening to both versions side-by-side, it almost feels like the original will be meant for the old school Cynic/Atheist/Pestilence crowd that enjoys their prog/death to be a little bit dirty. Traced in Air Remixed will be for fans of modern prog’s ultra-crisp, clinical sound. It’s not just the new mix and master that makes it feel that way, either – another more significant change has been made.

If you happened to see the teaser video for Traced in Air Remixed, you probably noticed the missing death vocals in a few of the snippets. At the time, it was impossible to know just how substantial this change actually was, but it turns out the death growls have been totally removed – not just lowered, but removed. Personally, I am okay with their removal because I always felt like the growls were tacked on and ‘token’ anyway, but there are probably going to be a lot of fans that feel this is the deal breaker. For everyone else, the new sound and lack of growls makes Traced in Air Remixed feel like a totally modern prog release, and not just a homage to an album the band had already tried to outgrow once before. Not satisfied with just removing content, though, Paul Masvidal and company also added new bass tracking by Sean Malone. This part is a little confusing because he’s the same guy that did all the original bass lines, and as far as I can tell, there’s nothing significantly different between this and the original. Maybe more listens will provide some insight, but for now I’m at a loss.

I’m going to be honest; I’m a sucker for remasters. The only time I might have a problem is when they really start messing with the sound. This time, though, I don’t have any issues because the updates all work for me. It’s these changes that bring Traced in Air Remixed in line with modern prog, and I like it. As for the missing death metal vocals; I don’t miss them. They never felt like they were truly a part of the original album, anyway. Traced in Air Remixed takes Cynic’s comeback album and gives it the modern prog sound it always deserved while stripping it of the token death metal vocals, and adding new bass tracks – whether or not you like it more than the original will hinge on whether you appreciate the old-school or modern sound more… and, of course, those pesky death metal vocals.



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user ratings (59)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2019


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this more than the original, but overall they're the same rating... if that makes any sense.

Digging: Delacey - Black Coffee

iambandersnatch
September 25th 2019


1848 Comments


I thought the death metal growls were good sometimes, but were definitely overused and kinda cheesy at points. I think there's a good middle ground between the original and completely removing them, but oh well.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2019


12084 Comments


This was a nice take on the original but I cant find it better than, or worse than.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2019


3760 Comments


"gritty old-school sound of the original"

????

Other than that, you've got me interested in this. I also agree that the growls on the original really didn't suit this album's aesthetic.

Digging: Ulcerate - Stare Into Death and Be Still

Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2019


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

--I thought the death metal growls were good sometimes, but were definitely overused and kinda cheesy at points.-

There were a few points where the growls were okay (like the opening to Evolutionary Sleeper), but mostly they felt totally out of place to me.



--This was a nice take on the original but I cant find it better than, or worse than. --

I just appreciate the sound more on this one. I'm not deleting the original because they're different enough to keep both, but I'll probably play the new version more.



--????--

The original version of this definitely had that late 80s/early 90s tech/prog/death sound. At least to me, it did. Especially compared to this version.

sizeofanocean
September 25th 2019


1791 Comments


I thought this was an actual remix album, like Linkin Park's Reanimation.
Didn't the original sound pretty good already though?

sizeofanocean
September 25th 2019


1791 Comments


Review was a good read btw, you really went into detail about the actual sound changes

nightbringer
September 25th 2019


1122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the removal of the death growls makes me really want to listen to this.

shibole
September 25th 2019


39 Comments


I feel like the death growls were barely on this in the first place. I rarely ever notice them. Get on it Nightbringer, this album is a lot of fun.

nightbringer
September 25th 2019


1122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah will do, I remember checking this album and thinking it was mostly cool but death growls are one of my least favourite vocals styles so they are nearly always a deal breaker for me. It's cool that that deal breaker has now been removed!

MarkyMarkthrone
September 25th 2019


4 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm assuming the bass probably needed to be rerecorded because they lost the original files/tapes. That's usually the case when one particular performance is rerecorded for a remix. See the Megadeth remixes, for example.

bloc
September 25th 2019


60251 Comments


I think the original sounds perfectly fine, I didn't know a remix/remaster of this thing was in such high demand

Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2019


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I honestly don't think anyone was demanding it. I've never seen any comments where someone was going, "They should make it less heavy and more 'prog' sounding. Oh, and they should get rid of the death metal vocals..." Turned out to be good, though.

bloc
September 25th 2019


60251 Comments


If it wasn't in demand then why release it? Surely it wasn't a cash grab?!

Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2019


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Based on the direction Cynic went after this, as well as various interviews, I'd say this is the way Paul Masvidal always wanted the album to sound. He was also not a fan of the death vocals, so that part probably bothered him every time he listened to Traced In Air, too. So, I'd say it was more of a vanity or personal re-release.

bloc
September 25th 2019


60251 Comments


It's also a big FU to whoever the guy is that did the death vocals in the first place

Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2019


18608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True enough. He also played guitar on this, so he wasn't totally eliminated.

Sabrutin
September 25th 2019


6777 Comments


The harsh vox were already harmless in the original but still it's a shame if they're completely gone, can't have cosmic horror vibes without the horror.

also why did they cut the art? smh

oltnabrick
September 25th 2019


39097 Comments


Wtf lol

Digging: Bladee - Exeter

Poet
September 25th 2019


6064 Comments


Didn't know this was a thing. I loved the ethereal atmosphere of the original and after listening to the little teaser of the remix, it definitely has that modern sound. But it also sounds like it lost that atmosphere that made me love the album when it initially released.



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