Cynic – Traced in Air (2008)

I don’t remember the first time I heard about Cynic. I think it was my friend Matt who first introduced me. This record is the closest I’ve ever gotten to being a fan of progressive death metal. The track was “The Space For This” and I was absolutely blown away. I was enamored of their use of a vocoder for most of the vocals as well as how dynamic their playing was. Lots of highs and lows and even at their most ‘busy’ you could hear everything they presented clearly. I’m not normally one to worship virtuosity but their guitarist Paul Masvidal can fucking shred and I think it’s kind of cool he exclusively plays Ned Steinberger Guitars. I had the pleasure of seeing them live in Boston and it was probably one of the best live music experiences I’ve ever had.

The record opens with radio transmission type noises. After so much time since their first album, ‘Focus’ (which I recommend) it’s almost as if to signal “we’re back”. The intro to the record starts and you can immediately tell the tone of the rest of the record. This album absolutely crushes from front to back. Incredible pacing, musicianship, composition of tunes and those delicious vocoder vocals(!!!!). They do so much to drive the emotional power of the songs they wrote.

Nothing makes me feel chills on this record like the tune “Integral Birth.” The chorus just works so well! The lyrics just paint an amazing picture within the context in which they are delivered. They sound cheesy written here but trust, the song just explodes with staccato riffing, those wonderful vocoder laden vocals layered with growling. It’s really wonderful.

A million doves
Orbit round the Earth with tears of blood
Kill the virgin, take Integral Birth

That said, almost every song on this record is great. If you like your metal (even alt-metal like Tool for instance) a little more polished at times, definitely check it out. You can tell Paul loves using the studio to make his art really shine. The pressing I have was a second pressing on clear wax and it sounds phenomenal cranked up. I really cannot recommend this record enough and I was REALLY excited to see it come up randomly. Part of what I love about this project is how it brings records into focus that I haven’t thought about or listened to for a little while. Thanks for reading and hope you’ll come through next time.

Here is a YouTube link to just one of my favorites off this record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNGCJzPzAp0

Here is a link to the Discogs release: https://www.discogs.com/Cynic-Traced-In-Air/release/2147710

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