Cynic’s 1993 debut ‘Focus’ is still regarded by many as the most ingenious progressive death metal album of 90’s. A follow up after 15 years seems to be a risky proposition, even for these guys. Too much of a change in technique, songwriting, or numerous other variables could jeopardize their reputation as forefathers of technical progressive metal and godfathers of the technical death movement. Not to mention that the longer the wait, the more likely that fans’ expectations can soar to unrealistic levels. Nevertheless, the Floridians are back with their brand new CD ‘Traced In Air.’
There are some distinct differences between the Cynic of now and then and they are noticeable immediately. ‘Traced In Air’ is a bit more melodic and prefers clean singing as the main vocal tactic with death growls, supplied by newcomer Tymon Kruidenier, used more sparingly for accent and effect. There is also a heavy ambient vibe running through the whole disc. They incorporate computerized vocals and other new tricks to spice things up. Add it all up and you get yet another progressive metal classic that is fresh, stimulating, and borderline hypnotic. ‘Evolutionary Sleeper,’ ‘Adam’s Murmur,’ and ‘Integral Birth’ jump out as highlights but every track on this disk has its purpose and holds its own. Every twist, stop-start, and change is carefully thought out and placed. And, like ‘Focus,’ ‘Traced In Air’ is an incredibly smooth listen, especially for a technical progressive band.
While it’s immediately recognizable as Cynic, ‘Traced In Air’ is far from being ‘Focus 2.0.’ It will be an instant hit with both loyal fans of the band and all other progressive metalheads that get their hands on it. The long anticipated follow up does not damage the Cynic legacy; it only reinforces their place in progressive music history.
- Tim Carroll
While it’s immediately recognizable as Cynic, ‘Traced In Air’ is far from being ‘Focus 2.0.’ It will be an instant hit with both loyal fans of the band and all other progressive metalheads that get their hands on it.
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