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Carbon-based anatomy CD, CD single, Single Maxi
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Edition Digipack Limitée au premier pressage Deuxième EP consécutif des californiens de CYNIC, "Carbon Based Anatomy" n'a pas grand-chose à voir avec les expérimentations électro acoustiques de "Re-Traced" sorti l'an passé. Ce nouveau 6 titres et un superbe recueil de ce que va désormais être la musique du plus grand groupe de techno-metal de tous les temps ! Les maîtres sont de retour !
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The overall sound of the album still clings to the futuristic tranquility heard on Traced In Air, only here it is pushed further with the inclusion of some very well done and extremely ambient instrumentals. Though I feel I got my fill of Metal as the band decided to split them up equally, three instrumentals and three traditional tracks. The three traditional tracks feature a far more ambient spacey sound then heard on previous releases though still hold the technicality and musicianship that Cynic fans have come to love. I especially have to give credit to drummer Sean Reinert whom puts down some truly stellar beats that stand out significantly more then on the previous album. Expect everything you loved about the last album to return except maybe the rare growls/yelling that were scattered throughout the album, but they are not missed.
All in all I have to admit that just six songs by Cynic blows away a full length album by most of today's Metal scene and that is truly saddening. Their are few bands that have this much chemistry and musicianship. I would like to say I recommend all fans of Metal purchase this to support a band that is truly setting a standard and decimating the line between music and art. Although like said before their are complaints about the price compared to the product so if you aren't a die hard fan but are curious, go find some streams and listen before purchasing. Please support a supporter of Metal and click yes below and please read my other reviews, thank you for reading.
To start it is even more mellow than TIA was. Which as I said before, I like mellow music; but one wonders now what the difference really is between Aeon Spoke and Cynic, this EP is almost completely devoid of any really noticeably solid Metal elements, and has no Death Metal elements at all. I just don't understand why this sort of feeling and music isn't kept directed in his band Aeon Spoke. In addition to just about being an AS album with the Cynic name on it, this albums songs are kind of weak. They're not bad at all, it's just that they don't seem to have much pull on my mind or heart, unlike alot of Foucs and most of Traced in Air, the songs here just seem eccentric and spastic. Alot of this is due to the fact that Pauls singing on this album is borderline bad, the vocoder is 100% gone and he sings in an (I hate to say it because it is such a canned comment) almost whiny, nasal tone, it sort of reminds me of The Goo Good Dolls type of singing at parts, only not as good as Johnny Rzeznicks singing is. Additionally the guitar work while still quite good, pales in comparison in terms of technicality and writing compared to TIA and Focus. Reinerts drumming also seems lazier as well, perhaps not in an absolute sense, but relative to what I expect form him and from Cynic. I don't expect super fast, ridiculous Metal drumming from him, that isn't the problem.
The albums lyrics are as good as ever, and many of the songs have a very "ethnic" sound to them. This is perfectly fine, I even like it quite a lot; but I feel that the song writing lets this aspect down and doesn't carry it at all, unlike on the TIA song "The Unknown Guest" for example. I've always felt that TIA was a little short, and this is quite short as well. I know it is an EP, so I don't expect more; but I normally expect an EP with 3-4 songs to be 20 min long, not one with SIX songs being roughly 22 min long.
Overall I can't say I enjoy this album much, and I feel very let down. However I still rate this EP at a 3/5 just because I want to account for the possibility that it will grow on me. Mayne when a full album comes out the whole picture of what they're trying to convey will come together and vindicate them.
I ended up missing both of Cynic's stopgap EPs (this one and "Re-Traced") on my way to this year's excellent "Kindly Bent To Free Us" so I was surprised, as good as that album is, to see more than a few people slightly disappointed it didn't live up to the promise of this EP. So naturally I had to check out what all the fuss was about.
From moment one this musical head-trip had me riveted. It sounds naive to anyone who claims to have heard "The Portal Tapes," but I seriously was not ready for where they went with this EP. Indian-influenced female vocals and whispered chants introduced a level of tranquility I had never expected listening to a so-called "Death Metal" band. Then the kinetic, propulsive title track eased its way in, and I knew that I was in for a wild ride. Bassist Sean Malone is technically a hired hand here, but you wouldn't know it from listening to how he's flat-out grooving with drummer Sean Reinert here. It's the most incredible prog-fusion bass/drum throwdown i've heard since Percy Jones and Phil Collins locked horns on Brand X's "Malaga Virgen" back in the day. Even more surprising is the naked emoting of guitarist/vocalist/mastermind Paul Masvidal, who throws the vocoder aside and lays down some vulnerable, but flat-out great work that is simultaneously textural and inspiring, adding some great solos that show both technique and restraint in perfect doses.
Then we go into our full-on-hanging-with-Ravi-Shankar-phase, and "Bija!" comes in. As a bridge between the more fully-crystallized songs, it still demands your attention, blending some not flashy but solid tabla playing with again Middle-eastern inspired vocals and piano. The contrast of western and eastern textures is intoxicating and musical - this is not some throwaway soundscape.
And then we get to "Box Up My Bones." The first time this song hit me was over headphones, and it slow-builds out of nowhere delicately, approaching you like a glorious, runaway psychedelic train. There's this simple-yet-amazing thing that Reinert does on the kit in this song between the chorus and the "chanting" pre-verse - it's a feel thing, and its a tempo thing, it's barely noticeable but it's so incredibly well-executed that every time it happens you roll with it and slip into giddiness, happiness and hope. The drumming on this song cannot accurately be described without using the words "technical mastery." Yet again in the flow of the song, there's the jagged edges when the band stops to let Paul stand by himself before the choruses and crashing guitars. If Peter Gabriel hung out with prog-metal guys, this is probably the whacked-out s*** that he would come up with.
Its important to say - we're not really in the realm of metal anymore. I mean, I think it has to be a very important disclaimer to this music - you get the sense that you are listening to a thing that is some far-removed strain of something that was once metal, but is just too informed, involved, introverted and intoxicated with the possibility of a higher plane of actualization, that it just leaves metal behind.
That's important to keep in mind when we get to "Elves Beam Out," which has to be the strangest, catchiest, most awesome approximation of pop-prog eye poke this band has ever made. With its fey and bizarre lyrical matter ("i met this dream before/elves beam out/seed shaped sounds"), strange phased reverb on the drums pre-verse, and flat-out Beatles-esque resolution riff, this song is a trip from beginning to end and really is just the crowning achievement on this daring blend of sonics.
We thus creep steadily through echoing santoors, wistfully, to an end with final interlude "Hieroglyph" which whispers us out on some concluding poetry : "everything rushing into freedom/no walls no specific personality/his whole being an explosion into infinity."
Some will say not a lot of meat, some will say "wheres the metal" and those I guess are fair criticisms on some level for a six-song EP that makes no pretense to be metal beyond the association with their name. But when I hear this music, I truly hear the sounds of people attempting to translate the strangeness of the beautiful sounds in their headspace to tape, damn the consequences. It's exciting to hear that metal music finally has their Talk Talk.