Carbon-Based Anatomy [EP] Review

artist: Cynic date: 11/11/2011 category: compact discs
Cynic: Carbon-Based Anatomy [EP]
Released: Nov 11, 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal, Experimental, Psychedelic Rock, Ambient
Label: Season Of Mist
Number Of Tracks: 6
Change is afoot in camp Cynic as they travel to uncharted waters and new dimensions.
 Sound: 7.5
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.5
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reviews (2) 25 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.7
Carbon-Based Anatomy [EP] Featured review by: UG Team, on november 11, 2011
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: An oddity if there ever was one, Floridian's esteemed hippies Cynic have been keeping busy since their enthralling comeback album "Traced In Air". While creative output has been minimal since then, they've hit the road hard, showcasing their discography, flinging business cards every which way, getting stuck into life as working artists again. It's helped them become a little more industrious, I'm sure, but "Carbon-Based Anatomy" is so mellow that it's hard to imagine that anything resembling hard work has gone into it at all.

It has, of course, but the meditative, spiritualist side to eccentric frontman Paul Masvidal has really come to the fore on this, their third (!) major collection of original material. While the size is light and the style even lighter you can forget about this EP sounding much like "Traced In Air", yet alone '90s death metal gem "Focus" the placement of unusual mood tracks makes it a serious listen. Exotic washes of ambience mark the beginning, middle and end of this 23-minute affair and are coloured by, among other things, spoken word ("Hieroglyph") and warbling Latin chants ("Amidst The Coals"). What may be decoration on most full-lengths (and superfluous decoration at that) becomes an important factor in a short release, and these three tracks give the EP a prevailing air of peace, despite the harder hitting stuff elsewhere. Dismiss them as filler at your peril.

The bulk of the material though, and the material most recognisable as Cynic, is explorative prog rock. While most metal elements are toned down, the technical exuberance of the band actually comes through in a new way, emanating more psychedelia than the jazz fusion they built their name on. Without compromising identity, this slickly and commendably bridges the gap between the space-rock wastrels and the drugged-up academics that shared a stage in the 1970s. To forge such a sound through technical and meticulous playing is a credit in particular to drummer Sean Reinert, whose contributions are as much a trademark of the band as their vocals or glistening guitar tone. // 7

Lyrics: Perhaps due to the weirdness being dialed up elsewhere, Masvidal has slimmed down on the vocoders and other processing effects put on his voice. Coupled with the absence of death growls, this marks a fairly significant change in the way Cynic's lyrics are communicated, and it pays dividends on "Box Up My Bones". The song exercises all that's good about the band in the 21st century, and the human quality of the voice adds to its euphoria, delivering Masvidal's story of self-realisation with more potency than he could ever have dreamed of before. // 8

Overall Impression: Despite the stylistic framing that tracks like "Hieroglyph" provide, "Carbon-Based Anatomy" does feel incredibly short, and not necessarily because we don't want it to be over. Perhaps it's that the tales of transcendence are not mirrored by a clear sense of direction over the course of the record; in fact the alien territory covered can leave you with the feeling that you don't know where you've ended up, and that you don't really know where you started either. That is this EP's only major flaw, but one that is easily overlooked when so immersed in its positive glow. Whether it's an isolated adventure or just the tip of the iceberg remains to be seen, but either way the future is bright for Cynic. // 8

- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2011

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overall: 8.3
Carbon-Based Anatomy [EP] Reviewed by: warbandit, on november 18, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Carbon Based Anatomy" is the fourth effort by the band and their second EP. The first and one of biggest changes I heard was the absence of the robotic vidcoder vocals on Paul Masvidal's voice but beyond that the overall music has the Cynic sound with some added Sonic's to make the music a progressive jazz filled odyssey. Even though the whole EP runs less then a half and hour it's a journey filled with ambient soundscapes and 3 full song tracks and 3 instrumentals. The drumming on this album is insane but never seems out of place and keeps a very solid pocket and has some interesting fills. The guitars are also incredible the rhythms are jazzy and varied and the leads are solid and add textures to the song also the solo in the title track is intense and masterful. While the bass isn't heard much its felt and stays in the back and filling the whole songs together. // 8

Lyrics: The singing are all clean as opposed to traced in and focus there is no screams or growls just clean vocals not even vidcoder as I said before on some of the more ambient tracks there is a female vocalist and what sounds like singer one would hear in a Chinese food place. The lyrics are cryptic and obscure but they seem to have an overall concept to them which will take a few listens to even tell how they run together. // 8

Overall Impression: This is a far departure from their first few albums and have taken a different tern musically. It is an overall good EP a bit on the short side but what can one expect from an EP I like everything this band is doing and can't wait for their next offering beyond that short journey was a great one. // 9

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