posted on 12/2011 By:
Somewhere on the 210 freeway, I realized that Paul Masvidal is never going back to his old life.
Nor should he. Because Cynic is an art project that was born into progression and has been kept alive by progression. Because when fifteen years go by between full-lengths, the only thing a band can do is reinvent itself time and time again. Because Paul Masvidal is a musical visionary that sees things most people never will. Because Traced In Air would have never worked if it would have only played the forgettable part of Focus - Part II. Because when the new LP drops in 2012, people will know that doubting Cynic is simply something that should never be done.
Carbon-Based Anatomy is a small step forward much like Re-Traced was for Masvidal and Reinert. In fact, the band's decision to take all of Traced In Air's coveted tracks and play them softly was a step forward for metal in general. Now, the band has proven that it can write fresh songs that weren't necessarily meant to be heavy, yet are still recognizably "Cynic" from light years away. Despite the band's decision to sprinkle extra ethereal elements into the mix, all of the former technicalities and trademarks remain perfectly intact. Therefore, it's safe to say that fans of Cynic will love and trust the path upon which the group has chosen to tread.
Here's one more fact: Listeners that loved Focus but have hated everything Cynic has done since were never really fans to begin with. Fans of an album that's virtually impossible not to like, perhaps, but not fans of the ideas that were the driving forces of the band's creation, since those same ideas are still propelling the music onward in the first place. So what's new? To put it simply, Carbon-Based Anatomy is exotic. It's not only the foreign languages that are being spoken on "Amidst The Coals" and "Bija!" that give off that effect, either. Sure, Cynic is experimenting with sounds from other parts of the world given the added tribal instruments, but there are also brief moments that sound like they're from other planets.
The defining track of Anatomy,"Elves Beam Out," glistens with ethereal elements, elaborate space-age production and a beautifully infectious chorus to top it all off. Yes, the two most important creations that have ever come from this planet, namely guitar solos and catchy-as-hell beats, are also present in all of the album's non-instrumental tracks. All in all, Carbon-Based Anatomy does what an EP should always do -- test the waters with the listeners and leave them thirsty for more.
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