Cynic - Re-Traced EP (Season of Mist/Riot)

Cynic releases an album of inferior re-interpretations of songs from the "Traced In Air" record for some inexplicable reason.

Cynic are one of the watershed bands in progressive metal - rated up there with Opeth, Tiamat or Dream Theater in terms of creativity, influence and forward-thinking. After an almost 20 year hiatus since their debut Focus, they finally released some new material last year with the stellar Traced In Air record. While that met almost universal acclaim, this EP-length record, entitled Re-Traced seems like a bit of a cashgrab in comparison.

The first track, Space (a re-interpretation of the track Space for This from Traced) seems like a dark new wave track with machine drums in the place of real ones, overflowing with bristling synth overdubs. Likewise for Evolutionary (Evolutionary Sleeper) a dreamy acoustic number that seems to borrow from jazz fusion before letting fly with a metal riff towards the bottom end of the track. King (King of Those Who Know) treads into ambient electro or even instrumental hip hop territory and Integral (Integral Birth) is an all acoustic guitar version of the original. Notably, all of the vocals are stripped of their vocoders and filters - it's Paul Masvidal's voice, completely unadulterated. There's scarcely any metal to be heard here apart from the bonus Wheels in Wheels, which sounds like standard Cynic fare - polyrhythmic jazz-metal fusion topped off with mind-bending guitar theatrics and an uplifting, rousing chorus.

The band issued a statement explaining the record, saying "[W]e want to try different production techniques and incorporate influences from different genres we all love, but which never had a place in Cynic" after performing these songs as an experiment. I think it would have felt much more satisfying to one's hip pocket if the live "experiment" was recorded in conjunction with other Cynic cuts and released as such.

This EP just seems a bit light on content and its hard to justify its existence, let alone purchase.

Re-Traced is out now on Season of Mist/Riot! Entertainment.