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One and only album of the most fascinating bands ever. Cynic is a legend, and it deserves proper respect. Although I often drop listening to “Focus” in favor of more vivid Atheist’s “Elements” (jazz influenced as well), I believe it to be one of the best metal albums ever.
It is said that Cynic’s technical ultra-skill is their greatest virtue. Indeed the guitar play is awesome (were they able to repeat that live, I wonder?), the same refers to bass and drums – I love those jazz-metal broken rhythms. The music is rather soft and melodic – though it may sound odd (especially for the first time) due to synthesized vocals. Actually vocals are the weakest side of the album – sometimes they fit, sometimes they don’t (damn, I hate those on “Sentiment”). Maybe that’s the reason why people often consider instrumental “Textures” the best piece on this album?
In my personal opinion, one of the most unique features of Cynic are their fascinating lyrics. Those are not just couple of songs – it’s poetry. I think people pay little attention to what is said in death metal songs (because it’s usually worth crap, right?) – and in this particular case it is a big mistake. Try out my favorite “Celestial Voyage” – it’s short, and it’s crushing.
I recommend this album to all fans of jazz and metal.