Bands reforming and reuniting seem to be the trend in underground metal lately (CARCASS, EMPEROR, IMMORTAL, AT THE GATES, etc.) - however most of the bands just cash in for a tour, or play a few exclusive festivals, and that’s the end of it. A few of the bands that have reformed, actually make new albums, and since CYNIC’s Focus is touted as one of the best progressive death metal masterpieces of all time, Traced in Air has long time CYNIC fans wondering if they could stand the test of time. After all, the band was put to rest and forgotten about. CYNIC is, and always will be a “love them or hate them” band, as there is no in between. If you hated the robot voice and entire Focus album, you will not enjoy Traced in Air at all.
Traced in Air is the ultimate album CYNIC die hards have been asking for, and the band does not disappoint. The album opens with “Nunc Fluens”, and almost instantly you hear Sean Reinert doing what he does best - pounding the drums with technical precision. Although he and Paul Masvidal both played on DEATH’s Human album, CYNIC was their creative force and really brought their jazz fusion influence out into the open. “The Space For This” and “Evolutionary Sleeper” are bona fide CYNIC tracks, although some vocal parts can get too flowery at times. No need to fret however, as there still death metal growls that accentuate the chorus at the exact perfect points. Newbie OPETH fans may get a kick out of this album, but this album was written for CYNIC fans exclusively. Reinert’s superb drumming really highlight the entire album, and “Adam’s Murmur” is a track where the band really gels as the drums, technical bass and guitar playing mesh as one cohesive unit. “Nunc Stans” closes the album in CYNIC fashion, with an eerie and mellow outro.
While parts of the album feel too empty and lacking intensity, that was the purpose of Traced in Air - getting away from the whole death metal genre and instead into the progressive rock/metal arena. More progressive rock than metal is showcased on the album, so if you miss the aggression but still want the progressive death metal, you’ll have to put in DEATH’s Human or PESTILENCE’s Testimony of the Ancients. CYNIC will always have ties with PESTILENCE and ATHEIST as progressive death metal kings, and hopefully those two bands can also match this excellent “reunion” album as well. (Season of Mist)