Cynic - Traced In Air
Season Of Mist
Technical, Jazz-infused Progressive Metal
8 songs (35:00)
Release year: 2008
Cynic, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Wow. To say that fans have been waiting for this a long time is an understatement. Since the release of the awesome Focus back in 1993, everyone's been agog to see what the Cynic boys would produce next. The band’s split in 1994 obviously put a kibosh on things, and subsequent projects such as Gordian Knot, Aghora and C-187 (I’m going to get hate mail for merely mentioning that name, I know it) have been varied and interesting experiments, but none can hold a candle to Focus. So, fifteen years later, and (at the time of writing) the new Cynic album is nearly upon us. Was it worth the wait?

Well, those expecting another Death Metal masterpiece will be disappointed. Whilst there are touches of brutality on Traced In Air, for the most part this is a much more laid-back listen than its predecessor. There are riffs aplenty – the intro to Integral Birth, for example – and even a fair number of growls, but they’re generally overlaid with the clean vocals and so don’t really have that much of an impact. Speaking of the clean vocals, they sound much less artificial than on Focus, as interesting and original as that sound was, and for the most part are little short of beautiful. You can say the same for Paul Masvidal’s guitar-playing and Sean Malone’s bass – the instruments blending together to create a spacey sound that will have any fan of Prog Metal in rapture. Obviously, all the musicians here deserve praise, but the slightly murky production highlights the guitars; Sean Reinert’s drums are as brilliant as you’d expect, but you have to focus on them to get the full impact.

The songs themselves are slightly catchier than on Focus, but fear not, Cynic haven’t gone Pop at all; Adam’s Murmur is hummable from the first listen, but you’re going to take time to appreciate it fully. This is complex stuff, all of it, songs such as The Space For This supremely technical powerhouses of melodic yet driven Metal. There’s already been some internet squawking about the lack of aggression, and yes, this is less aggressive than Focus, as mentioned, but pretty much each song has enough riffs and time changes to keep anyone happy. Let’s face it, listening to Cynic for the aggression is a bit silly, and the move away from Death Metal is well handled and tasteful.

Ultimately, Traced In Air is more Alarum than Atheist, more beautiful than brutal, and at thirty-five minutes of length, over before you know it. Come on, guys, where’s the twenty-minute song you’re capable of? At this rate, we’ll be waiting another fifteen years before another album from the band, but the results are worth it. Is it better than Focus? No, but is anything? Considering how most Metal bands that reform after such a long time produce poor results, that Cynic’s new album is even listenable is pretty impressive by itself. That it’s an excellent follow-up to Focus that’ll live on your playlist for a long time to come is remarkable. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
The Space For This, Evolutionary Sleeper, Integral Birth, Adam’s Murmur, King Of Those Who Know
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Cynic that we have reviewed:
Cynic - Ascension Codes reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Cynic - Kindly Bent To Free Us reviewed by Neill and quoted 80 / 100
Cynic - The Portal Tapes reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Cynic - Re-Traced reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
To see all 7 reviews click here
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