Cynic - Focus (Roadrunner Records) 1993
1. "Veil Of Maya"
Cynic are one of those bands that people have been telling me to check out for years. I've heard them described as thrash, death metal, progressive metal. Well, in 2004 Roadrunner Records re-released "Focus" with a bunch of bonus material. Cynic fused their love for thrash and death metal with an influence of Jazz/Fusion and progressive rock. Imagine if some of the guys from Pink Floyd, Death and Kraftwerk got together and decided to record an album with heavy jazz influences. That's about what Cynic sounds like. Ultra-technical and heavy yet still melodic, "Focus" indeed is an interesting listen. The drumming is spectacularly performed by former Death member, Sean Reinert. The two guitarists play off each other, performing vastly different parts, yet melding together perfectly. The vocals are a bit odd in that they are a mixture of death metal and these bizarre, electronic, robot sounding vocals, as well as the occassional female vocal. It's these robotic sounding vocals that most people seem to dislike, but I think they give the album character and work well with the experimental feel the album has. This certainly isn't your sing-along, fists in the air, headbanging, heavy metal. No, this is a thinking man's album, filled with jazz influences and early death metal. Initially this would be the one and only album that Cynic would release, however, Cynic have reformed and have two full lengths and two EPs since then.
The '04 Roadrunner reissue was remastered, has 6 bonus tracks, including three '04 remixes, and three Portal songs, a deluxe booklet containing new artwork, new liner notes, previously unseen pictures and a personal message from guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal.