Games Meet Metal: Cynic's Re-traced: The Riff Review

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Cynic's Re-traced: The Riff Review

There's one similarity that I make regularly, and that's comparing certain songs or full cd's to Opeth's Damnation. The point I'm generally trying to make is that the band in question did something out of left field, and it really worked. Damnation, a collection of songs showing Opeth's softer side, is either loved or hated by their fan base, but you'll find that the love is much stronger. Why? Because it worked. In fact, it was nearly flawless. So, from that point on, any band that does a little something out of left field, either in a song or an entire album, I'll always be comparing it to Damnation, as it's the benchmark of throwing a curve ball at your core audience.

Unless you want think about Metallica's St. Anger, and who wants to think about that?

Cynic are now doing their own "Damnation" with Re-traced, a re-imagining of four tracks from their Traced in Air cd, along with a brand new track. How do they re-imagine them, you ask? Well, the four redone tracks have been taken apart and totally rerecorded with new arrangements, new vocal tracks, and new effects. The song beats and lyrics are all retained. So, when you're listening to the first track, "Space", you can tell the original was "Space For This." However, that track has been so turned on it's head that it can almost be considered a whole new song to the untrained ear.

I had previously stated that Cynic would make the perfect soundtrack for the Gradius line of space shoot-em-ups for yesteryear NES fame. Re-traced makes a stronger case for that by being even spacier and mellower than it's original source. Take "Integral", an acoustic take on "Integral Birth." So mellow and out there, thanks in no part to the addition of airy sound effects and female backing vocals. I could so use this type of music when waves upon waves of baddies are filling up my screen. A little bit of calm in the middle of chaos can do you wonders for your high score.

In the end, the main people who are going to enjoy this ep are the hardcore Cynic fans, not someone who listens to Cannibal Corpse nonstop all. For them, this will just be too easy going. Like John Tesh covering Deicide. But if you love Cynic, then do yourself a favor and pick this up. While your at it, get that old copy of Life Force for your NES out of the basement. It's time to blow that baby off and play it again with Cynic in the background.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, I'm a huge Cynic fan, and i totally dig this ep! It's so cool how the melodies we hear in Traced in Air come out in a pure form in the "re-tracing"...what a perfect title. Paul Masvidal is a master songwriter. This ep gives us a purer version of his genius.