Sound — 10
Cynic is a banding of musicians that has been involved in the metal scene for quite some time. Paul and Sean, the two brain children of the group, both worked with Death during their "Human"-era. Their technical prowess helped Death transition from a Death Metal band to a Progressive Death Metal band that set the standards for future Prog-Death bands. Cynic released an album in 1993 called "Focus". Cynic was put on hold during the latter portion of the 1990s. Paul and Sean continued to work together in bands such as Portal and Aeon Spoke. All this changed in 2006. A fan wrote them an email, stating that he had a dream where Cynic re-united. Thus, Cynic was reborn. The sound is not just a rehash of their previous album, "Focus". "Traced In Air" strips away the Progressive Death Metal sound and replaces it with clean, melodic, and jazzy Progressive Metal.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are fantastical, introspective, and catchy. There are numerous religious/spiritual references, such as Adam and Eve and Hindu mantras. The lyrics are almost Power Metal, except without the annoying music and vocals that accompany said genre. Paul does a wonderful job singing on this album. He processes his vocals through an auto-harmony pedal, creating a thick layer of vocals. This is a refreshing change from the vocoder filled "Focus". There are occasional death growls, but they do not detract from the sound in any way. They are somewhat buried in the mix.
Overall Impression — 9
After Between The Buried And Me's "Colors", "Traced In Air" is one of my absolute favorite Progressive Metal albums. There is not a dull moment to be found. The music is mature, sophisticated, and memorizing. The album has a perfect flow. The opening track rises in intensity, preparing the listener for the emotional journey they are about to embark on. The closing track eases you back into reality. The most impressive songs on the album are "The Space For This", "Evolutionary Sleeper", "Integral Birth" and "Adam's Murmur". These songs are guaranteed to raise the hairs on your neck. The strongest track is probably "Integral Birth". It's probably one of the most well-written metal songs ever. The chorus will remain in your head for at least a week after listening to the track. There is not much to hate on this album. It's a bit short, clocking in at around a half hour. The album leaves you yearning for more. This album can be enjoyed by metalheads and non-metal fans, alike. If you have not been enlightened, I urge you to find this album and give it a listen. If you appreciate melody and musical ability, you will be very satisfied.