20 Watts

Releases of the Week: Cynic & Trap Them by subsonicd1sc0rd
November 18, 2008, 5:43 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , ,


Cynic – Traced In Air

On September 14, 1993, when I was three years old, Cynic released Focus, an album that pushed the boundaries of heavy music. While possessing a foundation in death metal, Focus incorporated jazz-fusion, complicated instrumentation, and a dual-vocal approach that was unique and mesmerizing. After an abrupt split in 1994, Cynic have finally returned with their second full length, a logical progression from Focus and evidence that their music has survived the test of time.

Traced In Air is only eight tracks long, yet manages to feel more like an album than any new release I’ve heard in the past few years. I say this because it is impossible to appreciate the epic quality of their music without experiencing the entire journey. This is an album that you play from beginning to end, period. Lush harmonies and ethereal melodies create soundscapes that appear to be hugely influenced by psychedelic rock and ambient music. The bass work is particularly stunning, adding to the atmospheric quality and interacting brilliantly with the intricate percussion.

Don’t worry, metal-heads; the death grunts from Focus are still there; however, they are rarely the focus (oh snap, check out that pun) of the music and now done by newbie, Tymon Kruidenier. Instead, founding member Paul Masvidal is responsible for much of the vocoder-heavy vocals that dance over the dreamy musical environment. The metal influence is still present as primarily heard by the wild riffing; however, this is greatly overshadowed by the virtuosic jazz soloing.

After 15 years, Cynic still has it. This release is monumental for music, not only for metal or jazz or rock. In a world where consumers have become so single-oriented, an album such as Traced In Air is a rare commodity that manages to tell a story while featuring advanced musicianship and a dynamic range that will implore you to take a trip into a world of auditory bliss. 

Trap Them – Seizures In Barren Praise

I discovered Trap Them after hearing about their signing to the infamous Deathwish Incorporated, a label run by Jacob Bannon of Converge fame. At first listen to their debut full length entitled Sleepwell Deconstructor, I was immediately impressed by the sheer aggression and effective mix of grind, punk and sludgy, metallic hardcore. When I heard their next release, Séance Prime, I was hooked. It was raw as fuck and produced by master engineer and Converge guitarist, Kurt Ballou. As the release date of their second full length drew closer, I thought to myself: how will Trap Them progress as a band? Is it possible for them to get even heavier?

Seizures In Barren Praise is a monster. There is more emphasis on Ryan McKenney’s abrasive vocals, an aspect of the band that I always felt needed a push. Combined with the bass heavy grind of the guitars and d-beat feel of the drums, this album is not for the faint of heart. “Day Thirty One: Mission Convincers” is my personal favorite on the album because it shows a side of Trap Them that will single-handedly propel them to the forefront of extreme music. Riddled with doomy breakdowns, feedback, and vicious drum fills, it totally demolishes the mindless chugging of uninspired “deathcore” bands such as Emmure.

If you’re really pissed, pick this up… now! Even if you’re not that angry, pick up this album and save it for a rainy day. If you’re debating whether to buy this album or the new Bring Me The Horizon, don’t pick it up. Just kidding… but seriously. Trap Them have created a record that is the soundtrack to the current economic situation; it’s chaotic, unpredictable, and likely to make you mosh out your frustration. Support these dudes!

– Jeremy Garber

1 Comment

Nice picks! Cynic is fuckin’ great, seeing them tomorrow with Opeth and the Ocean, and I think Trap Them is playing here next week sometime. Check the metal scene column next week for more!

Comment by Liam

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: