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.