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'Carbon Based Anatomy'
(Season Of Mist)
11th November 2011

Jeff Kent

jeff kent

Believe it or not, 'Heavy Metal' is a term that turns most people off. I know, I don't understand it either but it's true. When I try to turn people on to a new band that I think they might like, I need to be careful what I say if the term 'Metal' exists anywhere in the description. Such is the case with Cynic.


One album and one tour and the band broke up. There were other 'post Cynic' projects that featured some of the members, but it wasn't until 2006 that the band got back together in name to play live. In 2008, they recorded the long overdue follow-up to 'Focus', 'Traced In The Air'. Again, this was a technical prog Metal album with both vocoder enhanced and 'aggressive' vocals.

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Over the next few years, the band toured with many bands they had influenced: Opeth, Meshuggah, Between The Buried And Me, Devin Townsend and Scale The Summit. Towards the end of this tour, they started experimenting with reworked versions of the 'Traced' songs that were less Metal and more what they called 'sci-fi prog rock' or 'psych rock' with a minimalist restraint. Aha, now we're getting somewhere.

In 2010, after the tour, Cynic released an EP of these songs (plus one new song) called 'Re-Traced In The Air'. It was this EP that signalled a change in direction for the band away from Metal with a capital 'M' and more towards a unique Cynic sound that blended elements of world music, prog and electronica, while leaving a little bit of Metal.

Okay, so that's the history lesson, where's the review of the new EP? Here it comes...

With 'Carbon Based Anatomy', Cynic has managed to bring their music to an entirely different realm, beyond category. The music is hauntingly beautiful and has more in common with Radiohead or The Cure than Meshuggah or Death.

The vocoders have been replaced with Chinese(?) female chanting during the intro, which is your first clue that you'll be hearing something different. On the title track, the bass flutters beneath like helicopter blades and then stops to reveal shimmering guitars and plaintive multi-tracked vocals that would be at home on a Pat Metheny Group record. It's still heavy, but in a way that's free from Metal cliches. 'Bija' is another short Asian or Indonesian-inspired transitional piece that features bells, cymbals, sitar, tablas and piano.

'Box Up My Bones' builds to a crescendo like an old Jane's Addiction track and soon engulfs you with swirling guitars and angelic voices, before settling into a trance-like groove with two separate vocal lines. These are entwined like a Gordian knot, one sung and one spoken, creating a hypnotizing effect that's broken by the powerfully melodic chorus. Now, at this point, you may have forgotten you were listening to a Cynic record. If you're like me you don't care, you just don't want it to stop...but it does, and all too soon.

'Elves Beam Out' probably comes the closest to sounding like the Cynic of old, but only in the complexity of the instrumental lines. The production on the closer 'Hieroglyph' creates an expansive shoegaze soundscape that almost defies classification. I guess you might call it loud ambient. The female voice that opened the EP returns, but in English now, and it sounds like something from a Porcupine Tree album...a narrative of an acid trip perhaps.

Music this good should break free from any anchors of the past and soar freely to be heard by the masses.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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