Cynic – Re-Traced

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: June 2010
Released: 2010, Season of Mist
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

Cynic is probably one of the few bands within the metal genre that can get away with the idea of re-imagining their own material. The very nature of the band centers on the progressive and esoteric nature of music, free from the constraints of preconceptions. RE-TRACED takes four tracks from 2008\’s TRACED IN AIR and strips the music down to its core elements, free of the vocoder effects and spaced-out atmospherics. What remains is an almost “Storytellers” version of the songs; mellower, jazzier than the originals, but much more personal and introspective in such a vulnerable state.

RE-TRACED will no doubt divide much of its prospective audience. It’s not necessarily a metal album, but because it’s Cynic, you’d kind of expect this kind of release from the band and might be more receptive to it. If you strip away genre definitions and explore these songs “as is,” what you get is four articulate and musically impressive alternate versions of four songs that were already articulate and musically impressive to begin with. Sounds complicated? Well, so is Cynic.

Some of the versions here sound much more profound than their original brethren, as in the case of “Space”. Originally “The Space For This”, this bare version of the song allows the lyrics/vocals to be more pronounced than on TRACED IN AIR, and as such, it connects with the listener in a completely different way than the original may have. Additionally, the band has included a new track, “Wheels Within Wheels”. The song is consistent in presentation and delivery as the TRACED IN AIR material, and wouldn’t sound out of place next to those tunes. It’s an interesting inclusion here, contrasting against the starkness of the other four tracks, but it succeeds in tying the whole experience back to the source material on TRACED IN AIR.

You’ll either love RE-TRACED or hate it. If you’re a fan of Cynic, it deserves a place in your music collection. A challenging album from one of the genre’s most challenging bands, RE-TRACED is just one more example of what makes Cynic such a unique musical entity.


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Track Listing:
1. Space
2. Evolutionary
3. King
4. Integral
5. Wheels Within Wheels

Paul Masvidal – Vocals, Guitar
Sean Reinert – Drums, Keyboards
Tymon Kruidenier – Guitar, Vocals
Robin Zielhorst – Bass