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Rating:
9.7
Cynic - Focus
14 September 1993


01. Veil Of Maya
02. Celestial Voyage
03. The Eagle Nature
04. Sentiment
05. I'm But A Wave To...
06. Uroboric Forms
07. Textures
08. How Could I
09. Veil Of Maya [2004 remix] [The Expanded Edition bonus]
10. I'm But A Wave To... [2004 remix] [The Expanded Edition bonus]
11. How Could I [2004 remix] [The Expanded Edition bonus]
12. Cosmos [Portal] [The Expanded Edition bonus]
13. The Circle's Gone [Portal] [The Expanded Edition bonus]
14. Endless Endeavors [Portal] [The Expanded Edition bonus]


This album really impressed me in the minute I pushed play on my Stereo; Cynic the King without Crown, Cynic is like H.P Lovecraft or Vincent van Gogh, artists that public worshiped only after they died. Cynic released only one Full Length and a lot of Demos, nowadays people is hungry to get their material, fortunately I got Focus, so let's talk about this awesome album.

The album starts with "Veil Of Maya" one of the best openers in Metal history, a song with a lot of musical textures and progressions, this track show us Cynic's great potential, the drums are incredible (irregular and complex beats), the guitar riffs and solos are very technical, the bass-lines are also beautiful, and the vocals remind me a little of Chuck (Death) but with more power and more aggressive. The entire album is filled with a lot of Jazz elements, this is very remarkable indeed, this gives the album a lot of structures that go along with the amazing musical arrangements, and by the way don't expect Jazz elements ala Pestilence, in this album those jazzy Arrangements are not wrapped in weird power chords and all that stuff, this time we all can actually appreciate the Jazz fusion.

Every song is unbelievable, powerful riffs always place the mood for the song, but every once in a while the music slows down and set an incredible mellow atmosphere, but after this once more aggressive music enters, so the progression is all along the album with great measures and breathtaking structures (this is another great thing, the Progression is perfect). The vocals in this album are very good indeed, we can hear high-pitched growls, and then some weird robotic vocal effects (remember, this do not qualify as industrial metal) Note: check the seventh track "Textures" this song is purely instrumental, this song is one of the best demonstrations of Cynic's talent, after hearing this one nothing else matters, I am not kidding

So if you haven't heard Cynic you really must search for this album, one of the best releases in Death Metal, I don't know why this incredible musicians are so underrated, I know the production is not very good at all, and also the artwork is very naive, but the music is what matters I swear, nobody ever talks about this fantastic band, but well now I am telling you that "Focus" is overwhelming so it's up to you if you get it or not. So if you are looking for awesome Progressive Death Metal this should be your first option no doubt.


Band profile: Cynic
Album: Focus


 


written by Herzebeth | 12.01.2006



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Markku - 05.06.2006 at 15:07  
Totally agreed. This album is a bloody Masterpiece
For everyone who respects originality and great musicianship
Xtreme Jax - 05.06.2006 at 15:50  
I was just looking at this album in the RR Catalogue 05/06. Heres what it reads: "Another highly revered release from the Roadrunner vaults, the one and only album from Cynic. Seamlessly blending DeathMetal, Jazz, Fussion, Thrash, Electronica aswell as some other musical oddities into a cohessive and streamlined form, 'Focus' is, dare i say, a masterpiece of technical magnificence."

And now with a rating of 9.7 in this reveiw for 'Focus', i shall add to my wish list
__Az__ - 12.06.2006 at 03:12  
Certainly deserving of a 9.7
Dangerboner - 12.06.2006 at 03:31  
I think I'm the only tech death fan that didn't really care for this cd. The recording and vocals are so bad it takes away from the musicianship.

Edit - I actually hate tech death now...
Markku - 06.07.2006 at 20:36  
Written by Dangerboner on 12.06.2006 at 03:31

I think I'm the only tech death fan that didn't really care for this cd. The recording and vocals are so bad it takes away from the musicianship.


What are you talking about. The recording sounds the way it does to serve the artistic purpose abd the vocals do the same.
Dangerboner - 07.07.2006 at 01:03  
I thought the bass guitar sounded really sludgy.
Valar - 07.09.2006 at 16:45  
This review is pathetic this album deserves a 10
Where did the 0.3 go

This album is "FLAWLESS"
dismaleuphony - 10.09.2006 at 04:15  
I agree 100% with pyroleprechaun. The vocals are so terrible that they absolutely destroy each song. One of the worst choices for vocal effects on a metal record I've ever come across.
Tron - 04.12.2006 at 17:16  
This must be the most psychedelic album I've heard....just listen to "Uroboric Forms" at 1.23 and you'll see what I mean. The peak of originality in ALL OF METAL! Hail Cynic!
Spyroid - 10.01.2007 at 18:11  
I've only heard the instrumental song, so I wont say anything about the lyrics. But I love the production, it's prefect for prog.death. I'll try to get the whole album!
DOOM - 19.01.2007 at 15:00  
Uroboric Forms is one of my compilation must have in's.
Mihkel - 19.01.2007 at 17:31  
incredible music made by musicians who were then at their early 20's ...the beginning of I'm But a Wave To... - the most psychedelic thing I've ever heard:thumbup:
Paganblood - 31.01.2007 at 16:31  
Only one album by cynic?
Marcel Hubregtse - 31.01.2007 at 16:32  
Written by Paganblood on 31.01.2007 at 16:31

Only one album by cynic?


Unfortunately, yes.
Paganblood - 31.01.2007 at 16:39  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 31.01.2007 at 16:32

Written by Paganblood on 31.01.2007 at 16:31

Only one album by cynic?


Unfortunately, yes.

I wonder why such bands (even Possessed) end up with so less albums
Markku - 17.02.2007 at 19:09  
Written by Dangerboner on 07.07.2006 at 01:03

I thought the bass guitar sounded really sludgy.


It's fretless bass on the album.
Baz Anderson - 28.03.2007 at 17:05  
I had a listen to this seeing as it has such a high rating, etc.
I think it going under 'death metal' is a bit misleading though.. pretty much the only thing death metal on the album are the human vocals

it reminds me of Ark.. maybe its the fretless bass..
it was quite enjoyable though, no doubt it will grow on me the more I listen to it
Hembrom - 29.03.2007 at 10:23  
Written by Paganblood on 31.01.2007 at 16:39

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 31.01.2007 at 16:32

Written by Paganblood on 31.01.2007 at 16:31

Only one album by cynic?


Unfortunately, yes.

I wonder why such bands (even Possessed) end up with so less albums

Its ok , its all good .... i love these kidn of band. Its good to worship them , Morbid Saint and Demilich are few other bands with single GOD DAMN album.

graywolf87 - 03.06.2007 at 09:00  
I was going to write a review for this album but you took all the words from my mouth. No doubt one of the finest albums I have the pleasure to own. It takes talent and dedication to mix emotions, feelings and expressions into a unique sound only found inside the minds of the guys from Cynic. Also Paul and Sean were great contributors to Death guiding Chuck in ways of exploring new boundaries and traveling into new paths within his music.

It is sad that people that call themselves "technical" don't appreciate a masterpiece like this one...maybe this CD is not for kids I would say, "with time one learns to listen"...very mature album that stays in reality. good job with the review but I give it a perfect 10, not everyday you get to listen to music such as this.
Introspekrieg - 01.07.2007 at 19:35  
There are no words... to describe this album. Even the lengthy description on the deluxe edition packaging couldn't prepare me for what I was about to hear. Some of the most innovative music I have ever heard. Anyone know anything about Portal touring this year?
Marcel Hubregtse - 01.07.2007 at 19:42  
Written by Introspekrieg on 01.07.2007 at 19:35

There are no words... to describe this album. Even the lengthy description on the deluxe edition packaging couldn't prepare me for what I was about to hear. Some of the most innovative music I have ever heard. Anyone know anything about Portal touring this year?


Portal and touring? Now that would be weird since they ahve spilt up quite some time ago and only released one demo. Better check Cynic if they come by near you.
Introspekrieg - 01.07.2007 at 20:01  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 01.07.2007 at 19:42


Portal and touring? Now that would be weird since they ahve spilt up quite some time ago and only released one demo. Better check Cynic if they come by near you.


Oh ok, I read somewhere that they were an incarnation of Cynic. Didn't know that they were back together. Don't see any tour schedule, hope the come near Phila. How is the Portal demo?
Marcel Hubregtse - 01.07.2007 at 20:05  
Written by Introspekrieg on 01.07.2007 at 20:01

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 01.07.2007 at 19:42


Portal and touring? Now that would be weird since they ahve spilt up quite some time ago and only released one demo. Better check Cynic if they come by near you.


Oh ok, I read somewhere that they were an incarnation of Cynic. Didn't know that they were back together. How is the Portal demo?



I don't know since I never heard that demo, but it is true that Portal was formed out of Cynic. Bu they soon after split up. Cynic toured europe this summer, saw them at Hellfest and ast week thrusday in Tilburg in fornt of a sold out 350 people club. And they kicked ass.
Stalker - 24.01.2008 at 22:42  
Wow. Damn, I though Masvidal is a good guitarist, but I didnt know hes THAT good. And even better as a composer IMO. I really love the Jazz influence in their music... Damn, this is well done album, it deserves rating you gave it.
Visioneerie - 03.07.2008 at 05:16  
How is the production bad on this album, i didn't find any major flaws in it
Bitter Peace - 13.08.2008 at 23:12  
Awesome review. What I like most about this album is the mix of jazz fusion into their music. Other bands often switch back and forth between metal and jazz fusion, or the riffs are purely metal with jazz drumming, but Cynic is different. The two genres are interwoven so perfectly. One of my favorite parts of this album is the vocoder robotic sounding vocals, they give it a real sense of atmosphere. I really hope they do that again on their upcoming album.

The Portal demo is also worth checking out, it's different.. nonmetal, but really good as well.

I also agree with the reviewer, "Textures" has some damn good.. well.. textures in it. My favorite part is the bass part at 2:26, it is one of my favorite bass lines ever.
Marcel Hubregtse - 14.08.2008 at 00:03  
Written by Bitter Peace on 13.08.2008 at 23:12

Awesome review. What I like most about this album is the mix of jazz fusion into their music. Other bands often switch back and forth between metal and jazz fusion, or the riffs are purely metal with jazz drumming, but Cynic is different. The two genres are interwoven so perfectly. One of my favorite parts of this album is the vocoder robotic sounding vocals, they give it a real sense of atmosphere. I really hope they do that again on their upcoming album.

The Portal demo is also worth checking out, it's different.. nonmetal, but really good as well.

I also agree with the reviewer, "Textures" has some damn good.. well.. textures in it. My favorite part is the bass part at 2:26, it is one of my favorite bass lines ever.


Seeing you're also a fan of Cynic check out this interview http://www.metalstorm.ee/pub/interview.php?interview_id=425 with Paul Masvidal. It was conducted four days after the Atheist interview.
Raziel X - 06.11.2008 at 20:44  
Ppl, they have now a new album, which is apparently as amazing as Focus
Introspekrieg - 06.11.2008 at 20:51  
Written by Raziel X on 06.11.2008 at 20:44

they have now a new album, which is apparently as amazing as Focus

No way... it is nowhere close. Paul doesn't seem to have that bad of a voice, I don't understand why they went overboard with the vocoder this time around. Listen to "Uroboric Forms" and then compare it to the new album, you'll see.
Raziel X - 06.11.2008 at 23:01  
Written by Introspekrieg on 06.11.2008 at 20:51

Written by Raziel X on 06.11.2008 at 20:44

they have now a new album, which is apparently as amazing as Focus

No way... it is nowhere close. Paul doesn't seem to have that bad of a voice, I don't understand why they went overboard with the vocoder this time around. Listen to "Uroboric Forms" and then compare it to the new album, you'll see.

I dont mind the effect, I like the album, has a great jazzy feel.
Sure Focus is untouchable kinda, but that doesnt mean that the new album isnt good, it is great, and still beats much of the contemporary prog metal
IMO it is pretty close to Focus
Introspekrieg - 06.11.2008 at 23:21  
Written by Raziel X on 06.11.2008 at 23:01

I dont mind the effect, I like the album, has a great jazzy feel.
Sure Focus is untouchable kinda, but that doesnt mean that the new album isnt good, it is great, and still beats much of the contemporary prog metal
IMO it is pretty close to Focus


That's definitely it... that untouchable-ness was impossible to follow so maybe Traced In Air just seems worse to me because I am comparing it to Focus too much... I love the jazzy feel in the music but the vocoder just got to me...
I guess it is all relative to one's personal taste
Raziel X - 09.11.2008 at 15:58  
Written by Introspekrieg on 06.11.2008 at 23:21

Written by Raziel X on 06.11.2008 at 23:01

I dont mind the effect, I like the album, has a great jazzy feel.
Sure Focus is untouchable kinda, but that doesnt mean that the new album isnt good, it is great, and still beats much of the contemporary prog metal
IMO it is pretty close to Focus


That's definitely it... that untouchable-ness was impossible to follow so maybe Traced In Air just seems worse to me because I am comparing it to Focus too much... I love the jazzy feel in the music but the vocoder just got to me...
I guess it is all relative to one's personal taste


Yep, the jazzy feel rules, and Traced in air is still going to be one of the best prog releases of the year IMO. As for the vocoder, it is not a thing I enjoy much, but I can stand it and it doesnt bugger me that much
BloodTears - 10.02.2009 at 17:24  
It is truly a masterpiece. I wish I had the change to see Cynic now. We never know, with the new album and all.

I think I still prefer Focus over Traced In Air but they are very different albums in a way.

I remember the first time I listened to Focus, Veil of Maya and I was like "what the hell is this? It sounds different in a very good way" and then I was hooked.
Nicko's Nose - 26.02.2009 at 21:18  
I really don't get why it's so loved...
Marcel Hubregtse - 01.03.2009 at 00:39  
Written by Nicko's Nose on 26.02.2009 at 21:18

I really don't get why it's so loved...



Because it was something totally new and fucking brilliant at the time. And it still is brrilliant imo (unlike Traced In Air)
Daggon - 05.03.2009 at 04:09  
Finally I listened to this album without interruptions, totally alone in my world, putting all of my attention to the music and lyrics and let me say that this is awesome, totally great and very very well done (yes, even if the production is not the best) . I really liked this album, "Veil of Maya", "Uroboric Forms" and "Textures" are my favorites, and BTW some parts made me think of Death.
And yes, as Marcel said, surely in 1993 this was "something totally new and fucking brilliant", I second that. "Traced In Air" is not a bad album but sadly it is not as good as "Focus", still is very enjoyable.
Vitriolic Hate - 21.03.2009 at 20:57  
MASTERPIECE!!!!!!
symbolic727 - 04.05.2009 at 19:14  
Easly one of my top 5 favorite albums of all time and i have met Paul and Sean some of the nicest people i have ever met long live Cynic. This album is eather something your going to get or go completely over your head so i can understand why some people don't get it.
Tordah - 19.10.2009 at 00:17  
I agree TOTALLY with this review, it truly is a masterpiece; it certainly deserves more than the 8.8 it's got now.

I mean, what the hell is Blackwater Park doing so damned high?! It's bland as shit! The transitions are messy and OVER-DRAAAAAAWN; just generally bland in every aspect.

THIS is how you make a record, THIS is what Opeth wants to be.
DP_Megachiva - 18.01.2010 at 13:14  
This album is a masterpiece... a really unique, brilliant masterpiece

Cynic is one of my favorite bands, I can hear both their albums over and over and not get tired
Maxx666 - 28.11.2010 at 21:03  
Oh yeah texture is beautiful... "i rolled up the biggest joint possible and left the planet with cynic"... one of the precious album that i own
PrimalAntagonist - 02.02.2011 at 14:37  
Sounds like an bloody epic album but i haven't checked out till now.........now after reading this, i surely am going to..........:devil:
@gent_-_orange - 27.02.2011 at 02:03  
Simply put ...... a masterpeice 10/10 without a doubt.
Panterica - 08.06.2011 at 13:20  
Am I the only one who noticed that there are two Djent bands which are named after Cynic's song titles (Veil of Maya and Textures)? This discovery made my day
Kuroboshi - 12.12.2011 at 13:50  
I bought this album about 5 years ago and have listened to it every then and now, but today is the first time I actually thought it is an pretty awesome album (except the robotic vocals).
qlacs - 01.09.2013 at 20:11  
I just returned the 3rd time to this album, I must say after after digging myself into prog rock and jazz this is a pure diamond of music. So perfect, no weak moments, it's so well composed it's just flowing.

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