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3.60 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 2010

Filed under Metal Related


1. Space (5:14)
2. Evolutionary (4:25)
3. King (4:54)
4. Integral (3:51)
5. Wheels Within Wheels (4:45)

Total Time 23:09


- Paul Masvidal / Vocals, Guitar
- Sean Reinert / Drums, Keyboards
- Tymon Kruidenier / Guitar, Vocals
- Robin Zielhorst / Bass

About this release

EP, Season of Mist, May 17th, 2010

Thanks to UMUR for the addition


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"Re-Traced" is an EP release by US progressive rock/metal act Cynic. The EP was released through Season of Mist in May 2010. The five track, 23:09 minutes long EP contains re-arranged and re-recorded versions of four tracks from the band´s comeback album "Traced in Air (2008)". The last track on "Re-Traced" is a new composition called "Wheels Within Wheels".

...while the latter mentioned is a pretty soft/mellow progressive rock/metal track, it´s actually the most "metal" track on the EP. The four re-arranged pieces are mellow atmospheric/progressive/alternative rock tracks. The sound of those tracks is actually no surprise if you are familiar with Paul Masvidal´s and Sean Reinert´s alternative/atmospheric rock project Æon Spoke, which released the "Above the Buried Cry" album in 2004 and the "Æon Spoke" album in 2007, but if you expect technical/progressive metal in the vein of the first two studio albums by Cynic you´ll be surprised (and maybe disappointed). While "Re-Traced" is not tech metal madness by any means, it´s a beautiful, melancholic and emotional atmospheric rock experience instead. This is where I really learnt how strong the vocal melodies on "Traced in Air (2008)" are. Stripped from the fusion rythm foundation and layers of guitars, the vocal melodies stand naked and vulnable on top of tasteful layers of atmospheric guitars, bass, electronics and drums/percussion. It works like a charm.

"The Space for This", "Evolutionary Sleeper", "Integral Birth" and "King of Those Who Know", which are here re-titled "Space", "Evolutionary", "King" and "Integral", were all great in their original versions, but while I usually find re-recordings less than interesting, the new versions not only bring forth the high quality of the vocal melodies, they also more or less come off as unique compositions in Cynic´s discography and that´s quite the achivement.

Honestly "Re-Traced" didn´t impress me much upon the first couple of listens as I found the EP a bit dull, so it´s safe to say that it´s been a grower. This is one of those releases where I´m really glad that I gave it time to grow on me and after multible spins I can say with confidence that "Re-Traced" is a great release and a nice experiment by Cynic. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
Reaching for expectations that can't be met.

After the release of their second studio album, Traced in Air, Cynic decided to release a remix EP called "Re-traced," remixing some of the tracks off that album. The tracks are remixed in a more electronic fashion, with more mellow DJ-like rhythms and electronic melodies (even though the melodies on the album were electronic already. The mellow atmosphere of the songs are nice, but don't live up to the incredible compositional qualities seen on the original album. The shorted titles of the track titles give away a certain degree of what the EP is like -- a stunted version of an original great.

The EP starts off with Space (short for "Space for This"). It immediately starts with a rotating electronic beat, with mellow quiet guitar chords and muffled vocals backing it. The track is very slow and ambient, focusing more on the atmosphere of the overall song than the actual progressions of the music. Some interesting variations on the chorus riffing is seen, but it can't really stand up to the original track's prowess.

Evolutionary (short for "Evolutionary Sleeper") is the massively slowed down version of the classic track off the original album. With a nice atmosphere, the song has little to it's other than that atmosphere. The remix has certainly come a long way from the sweeping grandeur of the original track. Overall, although it has a nice atmosphere, it has little else to call it exceptional.

King (short for "King of Those Who Know") follows the same formula as the rest of the album - slowing the original track into a pleasant atmosphere with nice interpretations on the original chord progressions and riffs. Overall not spectacular, although this song does feature some nice false buildups and releases, making for a nice relaxing sensation. It is one of my favorite remixes on the track and has some of the cooler muddlings of the original sound.

Integral (short for "Integral Birth") takes a turn and is essentially an acoustic version of the original, with some pleasant atmospheres backing it. Although it is still rather slow and contains little but pleasant ambient overtones, the song is quite pleasant, offering a nice new outlook on the presence of the track.

Wheels Within Wheels is the only "actual" Cynic track on the EP, breaking out Cynic's more metallic compositional skill, and reminiscing the glory of Traced in Air without rupturing the river of a song's incredible ambiance with an electronic remix. Overall it may not live up to the amazing expectations of Traced In Air, but still has a great riff sequence and chord progression, making for another classic Cynic track.

ALBUM OVERALL: Re-traced is nothing special. With some pleasant remixes and nice atmospheres to its name, the EP is nice to listen to a few times, but is no classic album. The best track on the album is the last, actual track, and features some of Cynic's more melodic qualities, rather than the electronic remixes of former Cynic masterpieces. Overall, the album is good, and I'm not condemning the remixes as horrid, but they don't function as worthy representatives to the original tracks. 3 stars.
Time Signature
The space for this...

Genre: progressive/alternative/experimental/fusion rock

Cynic are a bunch of genii, there is no doubt about that. Their two full length albums are both groundbreaking and outstanding metal releases. Cynic are also very versatile musicians, and "Re-Traced", which contains mainly reintepretations of tracks from the 2008 success "Traced in Air" plus one original song called "Wheels within Wheels".

"Space", which is a reinterpretation of "The Space for This", is an almost athmospheric piece of progressive rock, whose athmospheric mood at times remind me of Depeche Mode. On "Evolutionary", which is a reinterpretiation of "Evolutionary Sleeper", Cynic experiment primarily with alternative rock (in a way "Evolutionary" seems to be inspired by 90s alternative rock which was inspired by 80s U2). "King", a reinterpretation of "King of those who Know", is more of a modern jazz fusion affair (there is some impressive fretless bass work and lots of jazz chords in this version) which also draws on 90s alternative noise rock and also has Reinert emulate the typical drum beat of Prodigy-inspired techno (I'm sure there's a specific name for the genre I'm thinking og, but I'm not well versed in the world of electronica music). "Integral", a reinterpretation of "Integral Birth" is largely an acourstic version, performed on acoustic guitars, the only non-acoustic element being athmospheric keyboards towards the end.

I must say that, while these versions are very interesting, and very much the proof that 1) Cynic are very versatile musicians and 2) Cynic's music itself is versatile and genre transgressing, I do prefer the original more metallic versions on "Traced n Air". Still, the reinterpretations are very interesting.

The "Wheels within Wheels" is the only metal track on the album, albeit softer and perhaps less dynamic than the tracks on "Traced in Air" - genre-wise it resides somewhere in the transition zone between progressive rock and progressive metal. Nonetheless, it is unmistakably an instance of Cynic's unique brand of progressive metal, and it's actually a very good track, I think.

I think that hardcore Cynic fans might like this EP, and fans of progressive rock and progressive metal a long with more experimental metal fans will probably also appreciate it, but metal purists will probably be disappointed.

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