Focus review by Cynic

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jan 1, 1993
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9 (70 votes)
Cynic: Focus

Sound — 10
Cynic is one of the greatest bands to have ever sprung from the fertile soils of the Floridian death metal scene. Cynic have only released the one album to date (although it would seem another release is imminent after the reunion), which was the aptly-titled "Focus" in 1993. The sound that Cynic have created on this album is something beyond comprehension. The band consisted of four members in 1993: Paul Masvidal (vocals/guitars), Jason Gobel (guitars), Shawn Malone (bass) and Shun Reinert (drums), each of them being so unbelieveably adept at their instruments. Cynic create a mystical atmosphere on Focus, with their many references to the idealogies and beliefs of eastern religions, such as non-dualism and an entire song dedicated to Maya, the mother of Buddha (also the Goddess of Delusion), also their references to spiritualism etc. As well as writing many crushing and technical riffs, Cynic also manage to incorporate some unusual music styles into their music, bordering on jazz-fusion at times. Excuse my gayness, but I really think that some of the clean sections that Cynic have invented are beautiful. The composition is top notch and the band perform live just as well as they play on disc, which demonstrates their tightness as a group.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics, I loved. They really opened my mind, though not enlightening me (that would be daft), made me question things I'd given thought before but never enough. The lyrics suit the music very well in my opinion, the mystical quality that pertains to the music is reflected in the lyrics. Cynic have two vocalists though only one is an official member. Paul Masvidal sings into a vocoder (a device which produces an electric voice) which was very original and amazing! The other vocalist who done the growling (whose name I don't recall) helped out on the album and during live shows, though he added a lot to the songs.

Overall Impression — 10
Cynic really doesn't sound like any other band, ever. I don't think anyone else would be brave enough to undertake making this kind of music! I was very very impressed with the overall musicianship. It's one of those albums that you listen to after playing an amazing solo and you kinda look solemnly at your guitar and think "I'm shite..." I loved the originality of the music, the way each piece goes so well with the others. The complex time signatures can severly f--k up your head at first though. Every song on this album is brilliant, though my absolute favourites would be "Veil of Maya", "I'm But A Wave To..." and "Uroboric Forms". I recommend downloading them of course but I recommend buying the abum even more! If t'were to be somehow stolen I wouldn't replace it. I would hunt down the bastard who stole it.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I never thought someone would do a review of this, so thanx anyway. A classic album, unheard by the vast majority, enjoyed only by the very few who have an active interest in seeking out good music. I had to download the album(dont think a single copy came to India which is where i reside). It is impossible to pin point a single genre for this(death-jazz? death-prog? jazz-gore?). Still waiting for the next effort by this band.....