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|Jason Gobel||Guitar, Synthesizer Guitar, Group Member|
|Paul Masvidal||Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizer Guitar, Group Member|
|Sean Reinert||Drums, Keyboards, Electronic Drums, Group Member|
|Sean Malone||Bass, Bass Guitar, Chapman Stick, Group Member|
|Aruna Abrams||Keyboards, Vocals|
|Scott Burns||Producer, Engineer, Audio Production|
|Paul Masvidal||Producer, Liner Notes, Direction, Reissue Art|
|Sean Reinert||Producer, Direction, Reissue Art|
|Ula Gehret||Liner Notes|
|Cynic||Composer, Producer, Liner Notes, Audio Production|
As I first heard the sound of the band in the opening of this album, "Veil of Maya" opened my mind. The often-described in liner notes "clean" voice at the same time provides an eerie sound an casts over as presentable to (early) death metal's "distorted" or otherwise slightly or to some extent "undecipherable growls."
One of the first things noticed is the dual voices. Actually, it is the same singer (at least it is to my knowledge) and not two different people, although in the liner notes there is creditation to other singers on the album and of course as the tour line-up.
The useage of the voices may take some time to adjust to, but I think it is executed well as not any band can just sing narrartively, use computerized vocal, and "death metal sing?" ( Paul Masvidal [as well as drummer Sean Reinert] was in fact in Death for one album recording [1991's classic and influential "Human" album], so it may not be surprise that Masvidal's voice resembles Chuck Schuldiner's [perhaps as in "Leprosy," "Spiritual Healing," may bear the most resemblance], but Masvidal's voice possesses more of a higher [maybe the word] voice).
Musically, the passages also change from a heavy sound to a light and slow part. It it not necessarily slow in terms of music, more as the beat is. It is not too slow though, at least the "Focus" part of the album. Post-Cynic, Portal, recordings of the bonus tracks do too me sound a little slow and may New Age maybe the word (in my personal opinion [as synthesizers are more heavily used]). Then again it is not neccessarily Cynic, as there are (more) female vocals present of the bonus "Cosmos," "The Circle's Gone," and "Endless Endeavors."
Of the highlights in this 8-track (minus the 2004 remixes and Portal material) exploration of music are "Veil of Maya," "I'm But A Wave To...," "Uroboric Forms," and "How Could I."
One more brilliancy is the use of electronic drums. As I first read the liner notes and saw electronic and acoustic drums used, I said, "What?" It fits well in for example, the opening of "Veil of Maya," as to have more effect than normal acoustic drums would have. In my opinion the electronic drums (toms to be specific) have an equally pleasant sound as the drum fills throughtout the other parts of the song and album. But again, provide more emphasis.
There are also sound which I can not recognize their musical origin in some of the songs as well as bassist Sean Malone playing the chapman stick.
Overall, this album and band is a different type of death metal then you would find in such Death, Atheist, Possessed, or Sepultura. If you are a strict metalhead with wanting to always mosh and pretend you can play an instrument, this album is not for you. If you want to hear smooth jazz and dance, this album is not for you.
This album is for the open-minded individual who accepts the amalgamation of truely different genres of music and vocal styles. It is mind inspiring and truely original. Tell me who can claim to sound like Cynic? I don't think so. A unique progression of death metal. Enjoy!