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Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy [EP]
11 November 2011


01. Amidst The Coals
02. Carbon-Based Anatomy
03. Bija!
04. Box Up My Bones
05. Elves Beam Out
06. Hieroglyph


Cynic seem to have a good quality: courage. They were brave enough to release something like Carbon-Based Anatomy, for better or worse. So what do they have for us this time? In a nutshell, they grab some of Traced In Air's peaceful and dreamy sounds, add some ethnic/tribal elements, a touch of world music, plus very rare incursions through their heavier side, which is currently at the risk of extinction. Maybe that is the meaning of this incredible artwork, some of the textures are being scraped off in order to create a new painting. But everything is still blurry at this stage.

Carbon-Based Anatomy has a promising start with the beautiful instrumental song "Amidst The Coals", sung with splendor by Amy Correia, and while it builds up some interesting atmospheres, that is all it does. Between the syncopated and bland "Carbon-Based Anatomy" and the intermittent "Box Up My Bones", "Elves Beam Out" is probably the best song of the bunch, the more faithful to Cynic's signature style. It is adventurous without losing its place, whereas most of the other songs stray away.

This is an EP which makes you assume an introspective position. There is nothing wrong with that premise, if only it wasn't for a sense of incompleteness and mindless meandering in these songs, which gives the impression that the songs are dispersed, that they have no direction or purpose. It is almost as though Cynic were trying to strip down their music to its most basic structures, leaving out the best.

The truth is that we keep waiting for that switch to a great song which never came and the EP never picks up the pace. It makes you wonder how far can they stretch this Cynic all-encompassing style and still keep us interested? We have become accustomed to getting refreshing music from them and here the band seems to stumble into an unclear place with no real shining moments, instead of galloping towards something more relevant.


Band profile: Cynic
Album: Carbon-Based Anatomy


 


written by BloodTears | 08.11.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Troy Killjoy - 08.11.2011 at 09:15  
Sounds like the entire EP isn't any better than the single.

Which was awful. Won't bother with this in that case. Nice review though. Straight to the point and told me what I wanted to know.
BloodTears - 08.11.2011 at 12:19  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.11.2011 at 09:15

Sounds like the entire EP isn't any better than the single.

Which was awful. Won't bother with this in that case. Nice review though. Straight to the point and told me what I wanted to know.


Thanks for the feedback, Troy
Rulatore - 08.11.2011 at 14:47  
The last two paragraphs represent exactly what I thought when I heard it, very nice review, altough I didnt like the EP.
Unhealer - 08.11.2011 at 14:48  
Nice review, really describes the sounds heard through the album. Didn't agree with the last part though, I think that is very personal.

I personally loved it, the tribal/ethnic influences are a natural marriage with Cynic.

I hate that this is an EP and last only around 20 mins, I'm so stoked for a LP now...
Spirit Molecule - 08.11.2011 at 16:14  
Masvidal may be a genius but this whole spiritual enlightenment thing he's got going on isn't doing good for the music. I heard one song which was online and there was nothing in there that made you feel any sort of connect with the song unlike the old cynic. Oh well, like I've always said, you can't expect a band to dish out epic albums everytime.
Nice review though. I doubt I will bother with the rest of the EP either.
Veil of Maya - 08.11.2011 at 16:18  
It's not 'br00tal fvkin' metulll' like people apparently want to hear. After Traced in Air I was pretty certain they would go for an even deeper, more thorough progressive approach to their music and I was proven correct. I thoroughly enjoyed the EP although I thought "Box Up My Bones" sounded very poppy. Was surprised to read that this song in particular was Paul's favourite.
Opethshed - 08.11.2011 at 16:54  
Atmosphere they built up is great, even only three normal lenght songs.
Troy Killjoy - 08.11.2011 at 19:42  
I hate when people say I don't like this because I'm looking for br00tal fvkin' metulll or something along those lines. I listen to a lot of music outside of metal and a lot of metal I listen to is atmospheric.

I just happen to think Cynic don't offer anything with this new sound.
Grody2themax - 08.11.2011 at 20:02  
I saw them the other night. The songs off of Focus they played really connected more with my adhd mind. Fast paced, with a strong sense of rhythm and variation, and crazy solos. Then they would play something off of Traced in Air or the new EP and it was so much less intense in the aspects the old songs were, but still had some interesting chord progressions and the occasional metal part.

I couldn't really expect a band that made an album in their 20's that basically screams trying to get noticed to continue with that attitude almost 20 yrs into the future. Not saying Focus was a show off album though, (that would be more along the lines of some of the djent bands today) but in comparison to the newer stuff, Focus had more of a "If its not complex sounding and original, its not good" attitude. The newer stuff seems to focus more on songwriting, and doing whatever feels right, even if its simple. Yet the new stuff isn't simple by any means either.

This album is sort of interesting though, because I think Paul is probably more into the pop/indie/world kind of music now. Listen to some of the old Cynic demos and how raw metal they were, I think it's inevitable that this influence seeps into the music, even if they're not trying to create metal. I'd rather look at this album as an indie/prog album with metal influence than a metal album though. Probably less disappointing that way.
qlacs - 08.11.2011 at 20:10  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.11.2011 at 19:42

I hate when people say I don't like this because I'm looking for br00tal fvkin' metulll or something along those lines. I listen to a lot of music outside of metal and a lot of metal I listen to is atmospheric.

I just happen to think Cynic don't offer anything with this new sound.

Almost the same here, but I think sometimes they can really find the spot in this new style. Sometimes. I've listened this EP once and I don't remember a single darn thing. Maybe this will change for the 2nd or 3rd listen but there's hardly a chance...
Clint W. - 09.11.2011 at 20:14  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.11.2011 at 19:42

I hate when people say I don't like this because I'm looking for br00tal fvkin' metulll or something along those lines. I listen to a lot of music outside of metal and a lot of metal I listen to is atmospheric.

I just happen to think Cynic don't offer anything with this new sound.

I can understand what you mean. We went through you not liking Cynic, but when there are quotes like these:
Written by Spirit Molecule on 08.11.2011 at 16:14

I doubt I will bother with the rest of the EP either.

and
Written by qlacs on 08.11.2011 at 20:10

Maybe this will change for the 2nd or 3rd listen but there's hardly a chance...

it makes me wonder what the point is for some people, you know? They give it a once over, or listen to one song, or read a single review and then they're done, hands off. I don't care about people not liking music, there's plenty of music I don't like either. But its when people already have preconceived notions of what they want to hear or what they're going to think, that's what I don't understand. I think the word introspective, which was mentioned in the review, is the key here. We kind of need to look at ourselves, as well as outside of the box, and ask ourselves "Am I ever going to like this?" or "Is this really that amazing?" or "Is this really just a jumble of uninteresting, soundscapes?" If the answer is "I don't know" then they listen to it a few times, let it sit, think it over, and give even a fraction of the effort that musicians put into their music, and then they still don't like it, fine. Okay. I won't lose sleep. To each their own. But if the answer is "No, yes, or yes/no" to those questions above without much effort, what's the point of giving an opinion if you haven't given an effort? This goes for people who hate/dislike bands or love/worship bands. I understand where you are coming from, but do you understand where I am?

In other news, I'm giving the EP a once over and it sounds interesting. I can understand where people think its meandering without really going anywhere, but we'll see. This is Cynic. Focus was one album, Traced in Air another. If I wanted the same thing, I'd go back and listen to one of those albums. I do enjoy the mix of metal/rock with atmospheric/world music/effects, but I sure wouldn't mind a little more focused Metal/Rock a la "Box Up My Bones."

By the by, good review BloodTears. Cheers!
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 20:18  
Written by Clint W. on 09.11.2011 at 20:14
it makes me wonder what the point is for some people, you know?

For me it's a matter of checking out music I haven't heard yet to see if I enjoy it. And I know based on the single they streamed earlier and what this review says about the rest of the EP basically sounding the same, I know there isn't any point in my listening to this so I won't waste my time. I know what I like and I know what I don't and if I listen to something I don't like I don't sit around trying to make myself enjoy it. I go find something else that suits my ears.
Clint W. - 09.11.2011 at 20:27  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 09.11.2011 at 20:18

Written by Clint W. on 09.11.2011 at 20:14
it makes me wonder what the point is for some people, you know?

For me it's a matter of checking out music I haven't heard yet to see if I enjoy it. And I know based on the single they streamed earlier and what this review says about the rest of the EP basically sounding the same, I know there isn't any point in my listening to this so I won't waste my time. I know what I like and I know what I don't and if I listen to something I don't like I don't sit around trying to make myself enjoy it. I go find something else that suits my ears.

Definitely. Life's too short to listen to music that you don't like. But saying "I know what I like and I know what I don't [like]..." makes you sound like you're not interested in finding new music and you're not actually checking it out. Ignoring the rest of the EP based on one song and one review means that you could possibly miss out on finding a song you do like, or even a passage, or certain sound. It doesn't mean you'd have to like the song, EP, or band (in this case Cynic), but it could be a platform on which to jump from and find bands with more emphasis on that one passage you enjoyed, or technique, or lyrical theme. That's how I often find new bands. I'll hear some random music and it won't touch with me but there will be something in it that I enjoy, so I'll use that song or band as a stepping stone to other bands. And then that's when I find music I really do love. It's just about branching out and expanding your tastes. But when you've already decided what you like and what you don't and then listen to music based on that, you severely limit the music you're exposed to and listen to. If that's what people want to do then fine. But its when they post their opinion after not trying to digest the music, for better or worse, that's what I don't get. Sure, don't waste your time, but why waste it posting about not wasting any more of it? I'm not saying that if you don't like music, don't say it. I enjoy readying introspective and critical reviews of music. Like I said before, it goes both ways. I just wish some people gave more effort and thought towards something that I enjoy so much (music). Then again, no one has to.
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 20:33  
Written by Clint W. on 09.11.2011 at 20:27
But saying "I know what I like and I know what I don't [like]..." makes you sound like you're not interested in finding new music and you're not actually checking it out.

All I meant by that is I know what music typically pleases me. For example, I'm a black/death/doom/sludge guy but I'll still look into stoner, gothic, progressive, and grindcore to see if there's something new that I could get into. And then there's shit like The Browning (trancecore) and Amoral (modern hard rock era) that I check out for the lulz.

For instance, Myrath was a band recommended to me and I listened to the album and thought it was pretty average. Totally out of my comfort zone but again it wasn't anything to make my giddy. I keep an open mind before listening to something new, and that's how I went in to this. Mind you, I was aware that others were saying some negative things. When I listened to the single most of that negativity made itself apparent in only a matter of minutes.
Clint W. - 09.11.2011 at 20:43  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 09.11.2011 at 20:33

All I meant by that is I know what music typically pleases me. For example, I'm a black/death/doom/sludge guy but I'll still look into stoner, gothic, progressive, and grindcore to see if there's something new that I could get into. And then there's shit like The Browning (trancecore) and Amoral (modern hard rock era) that I check out for the lulz.

For instance, Myrath was a band recommended to me and I listened to the album and thought it was pretty average. Totally out of my comfort zone but again it wasn't anything to make my giddy. I keep an open mind before listening to something new, and that's how I went in to this. Mind you, I was aware that others were saying some negative things. When I listened to the single most of that negativity made itself apparent in only a matter of minutes.

Alright, thanks for clearing that up. You don't have to explain yourself to me, or anyone for that matter. From our previous conversation, I already knew you didn't like Cynic, so that was nothing new. I was only bringing to light what the others said to try and answer what you asked previously. But regardless, I'm glad you do try new things. There are plenty of people (outside of Metal as well) who don't try new music and then pigeonhole other genres and bands based on a single song or review (I'm think of things like "techno" or "screamo" or "rap", really any of the music that gets shoved into a box by non-listeners). I like to think that fans of Metal are fans of Metal because they're open minded, musically. Perhaps I'm wrong.
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 20:46  
Written by Clint W. on 09.11.2011 at 20:43
Perhaps I'm wrong.

Oh boy could we ever get off-topic with that.

I'll just leave it at that.
Clint W. - 09.11.2011 at 20:49  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 09.11.2011 at 20:46

Written by Clint W. on 09.11.2011 at 20:43
Perhaps I'm wrong.

Oh boy could we ever get off-topic with that.

I'll just leave it at that.

I agree. Go find something you do like!
Spirit Molecule - 09.11.2011 at 21:59  
Open minded is a bullshit word
-Morbid- - 10.11.2011 at 05:22  
Great review, nice and to the point and I agree with what was said.

As someone who likes Focus a lot and also quite enjoys Traced, I am ok with a "less metal" Cynic. This however... was not what I had in mind. I listened to the whole thing a while back when it leaked and found that it was quite boring. Even if the band doesn't wanna play something "heavy," it's the instrumental side of their music that keeps me interested, and it really didn't feel like there was much of it there to be interested in. For me, some atmosphere can certainly add something to the music, but it can't be the lone selling point.

I remember that there was an enjoyable solo or two, and the "Elvis Beam Out" track at least left a glimmer of hope, so I haven't given up on them yet, but after also being disappointed with Re-Traced I'm finding it difficult to be too optimistic.

If this is what Cynic will continue with though, I must say I'm glad Tymon and Robin left so I can at least look forward to a new Exivious album.
Drixxel - 10.11.2011 at 21:28  
Having given this EP about a half dozen spins, it's really grown on me. While I initially felt 'Box Up My Bones' was a bit of a cluttered mess, it's the sort of track that not only works much better as part of a collective but, like the rest of the EP, the appeal reveals itself more with repeated listens. "It's a Grower" is something of a generic assessment to give a record but it's well applied for my experience in this case.

The softer side of Cynic is showcased better here than on 'Traced In Air', I'd say - there were a handful of choruses on that one which ranked moderately on the cheese scale whereas the vocal melodies on 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' are largely more convincing. The production is lovely, to boot. Overall, seriously diggin' it.
0mn1v0r3 - 12.11.2011 at 04:31  
I thought the EP was great, fuck yeah tribal/ethnic sounds, world music yes please. Cynic branching away form their initial sound is not a bad thing, I hope no one was naive to expect another focus -__-
Panterica - 12.11.2011 at 12:46  
Well written review. Even though the album doesn't get much praise, I'm gonna check it out somewhen.
Daniell - 12.11.2011 at 13:18  
I can't say I'm flabbergasted by the direction that Cynic have picked
AngelCorpse13 - 19.11.2011 at 06:31  
With 6 tracks, why release an EP? Might as well have made it the real deal at that point...other than that I'll check out this release...see what the proggy's got for me this time.
Kuroboshi - 17.12.2011 at 14:11  
The review is very nice! And personally I think this is their best since Focus. They have evolved nicely from Traced in Air, which was very good as well. Admist the Coals is a perfect opener, and Box Up My Bones is so nice with it's catchy chorus and mellow passages.

Really psyched for the new CD due next year!
nana.MD - 27.11.2012 at 21:52  
Written by Unhealer on 08.11.2011 at 14:48

Nice review, really describes the sounds heard through the album. Didn't agree with the last part though, I think that is very personal.

I personally loved it, the tribal/ethnic influences are a natural marriage with Cynic.

I hate that this is an EP and last only around 20 mins, I'm so stoked for a LP now...


Felt the same way, and we'll just have to wait a bit...I think this was just like something they were working on and decided to record, I feel Masvidal tried to express something going on in his life...quite different but still my favorite band

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