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Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy - accidental mini-review

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by farren, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. farren

    farren Member

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    It's 11/11/11 and the album is officially out now... Thoughts?

    I'm taking this one as sort of an aside stylistically like Re-Traced. Unlike Re-Traced which I never quite got into, perhaps partially because I like the original material so much as it stands on Traced in Air, I'm really enjoying CBA--just not quite how I expected to. Note I didn't read about this album before ordering it, so it's possible the style was only a surprise to me. It's only an EP, and while it's growing on me steadily, there's a bit too much time spent on World Music-esque ambiance rather than progressive metal* for an album so sadly short, clocking in under 24 minutes total. Crying for more isn't much of a criticism, though.

    The preview track that was released, Carbon-Based Anatomy, remains my favorite and is unlikely to be unseated at this point. It's the most traditionally focused in structure, reminiscent of past offerings--not at all heavy, but in a refreshing and more relaxing way, and despite the new prominence of synthesizers and Masvidal's cleaner vocals, less FX-laden than in the past though often layered, it's still obvious from first listen that it's a full-fledged Cynic song and not an experiment.

    Box Up My Bones is another standout. It has a "Woooah" vocal melody repeated throughout which is oddly familiar and I probably don't want to recall what pop song shares it (chime in if you must), but is a solid track all the same. Elves Beam Out lacks the power metal-spirited lyrics I was hoping for (kidding), but is very well-produced with some really cool instrument FX. The other three tracks compromise an intro, interlude, and outro, and only total a little over seven minutes.

    It's a solid, but short, album and it's too conceptually structured for me to label any of the ambiance-driven or non-guitar-based movements as "filler" material, but I'm pretty sure Cynic will return to denser, more complex material next time out when there's enough inspiration built up for a full album, which I'm betting still won't top 40 minutes. ;) Truly progressive bands are always changing, something implicit in the name (and something too many progressive metal bands forget somewhere along the way), but I think the next full Cynic release will be more like Traced in Air, minus the growled vocals--potentially less technical without Tymon on guitar, but more in tune with the self-titled track on the new EP than the rest of CBA.

    While totally turned off after my first listen--I quit listening 18 minutes into a 24 minute album, I confess--I'm digging it more all the time. While the preview track wasn't entirely representative of the whole, it's still a must for any Cynic fan even if it takes a few spins to come to grips with. I didn't really intend to write a mini-review complete with recommendation of purchase, but I didn't really think I'd live to see Cynic release a song called "Elves Beam Out," either.

    * If anyone takes exception with me branding this as essentially still "progressive metal," Cynic is primarily a progressive metal band and, in my opinion, there's little limit to how many liberties a progressive metal band can take in diverging from their usual style (whatever that is for Cynic) as long as they include something that resembles metal with a dynamic song structure, or otherwise hearkens back to the band's back catalog's undeniably metal tendencies. There's certainly enough metal here to meet that criteria.
     
  2. farren

    farren Member

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    As of today, the album's available worldwide.

    Any Cynic fans here...? ;)
     
  3. Pellaz

    Pellaz Tigron of Immanion

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    Yep. But I haven't had a chance to pick this up yet.
     

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