Cynic - _Carbon-Based Anatomy_
(Season of Mist, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (10 out of 10)
In the same way that 1993's _Focus_ was a gift of Wyld Stallyn benevolence brimming with sublimated brutality and cyber-spiritual transmissions, Cynic now bestow upon us the _Carbon-Based Anatomy_ EP, a love letter sent back from an age of atavistic bounty in which all sentient beings are "excellent to each other". Every mind-expanding moment seethes with totem-summoning percussion, prayerful vocal layering, and gorgeous guitar tones. Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert still write music in some hypercubic fortress of enlightenment, time-phased forward and soaked in life-energy, as if Yoda dredged riffs and not ships from the vibrant Dagobah swamp. Some creative notes from Cynic's alternate future biosphere: rad solos are still totally cool, distortion is no longer necessary within the lattice of primordial existence, and dude, like, mysterious robo-death-vox are -so- last millennium. This is how we (read: I) always want a band to sound on their next record but never quite dared to believe that Cynic would: recognizably awesome with enough forward momentum to make us excited to listen all over again.

The EP flows faultlessly through its three full-bodied songs and companion mood pieces. "Box Up My Bones" drops a pop-anthem hook the size of Kelly-Clarkson-as-Macy's-parade-balloon (in a good way!), and "Elves Beam Out" nabs a guitar run from a latter-day Journey album track (and I give up all extreme music cred by admitting intimate knowledge of _Trial by Fire_). The quiet contemplation of "Bija!", "Amidst the Coals" and "Hieroglyph" lends the rock songs context and depth, rather than lying as limp filler among more energetic fare. The six movements share thematic tissue that surrounds them, penetrates them, and binds the composition together.

The beauty and emotions engaged on _Carbon-Based Anatomy_ are so profound that I was sure I would end up shitting my pants. Turns out, no worries. These twenty-three timespace-folded minutes accelerated me through so many levels of consciousness that my pants had begun shitting themselves! And that shit was the soft, golden truth of my inner being. Or my pants' inner being. Now I'm lost in the infinite matrix of my own awareness. What was it I was trying to imbue you fragile vibrations with again? Shit.


(article published 8/12/2011)

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