Posted on February 22, 2010 -
Being a big fan of metal, my initial reaction to Traced in Air was negative. Cynic was never super brutal or heavy, but they had a death metal edge on their first album that is missing on this one. In fact, it sounded at first like emo-influenced prog-metal, and struck me as less adventurous than the jazz-death-metal of Focus.
But after a few listens, I stopped caring. The songwriting on the album is just that good. Whereas some of the riffs on Focus’s songs were unmemorable, every single riff on Traced in Air is golden. The instrumentation is intricate, and the music is passionate. Just like on Focus, the lyrics are very spiritual (with plenty of influence from Hinduism and Indian spiritual philosophy in general). I am not a spiritual person, but these are some really good lyrics. The production is surprisingly good, and does not suffer from the usual clipping that plagues many modern rock/metal releases.
There are a lot of music artists who make emotional music. But very few of these artists are able to support such emotionality with appropriately gripping music (hence why I’m not a fan of emo or any whiny music for that matter). But Cynic did it on Traced in Air. You have to give this album a chance. It’s practically a spiritual experience, and one of the best albums of the decade.