BY Chris AyersPublished May 25, 2010

In a temporary direction change, prog metal pioneers Cynic have released the Re-traced EP, which contains remixes from 2008's Traced in Air, plus a new song. Headbangers familiar only with the group's groundbreaking 1993 Focus may find Re-traced wimpy and unappetizing, though fans of front-man Paul Masvidal's second band, Æon Spoke, will find it a rich, engaging listen. "Evolutionary" sounds like an unplugged version of "Evolutionary Sleeper," spotlighting Masvidal's clean, unprocessed vocals, and "Integral" (derived from "Integral Birth") showcases his stunning classical guitar pickings, Pink Floyd-like keyboard tones and incorporeal voice samples. "King" (from "King of Those Who Know") is a jazzy affair, with Sean Reinert's controlled, Krupa-esque drum beats building to a crescendo embellished with heavy electronics and Doppler-effect keys. "Space" (from "The Space for This") gets the most radical retooling, with staccato techno beats and angular guitars, leaning more toward Robert Fripp's the League of Gentlemen than his day job in King Crimson. A possible lyrical reference to Rush's "Natural Science," "Wheels Within Wheels" works better as an outtake of the Traced in Air sessions; its serene mood fits perfectly here. For those anxious to hear the ethereal side of Cynic, Re-traced is a rarity that properly demonstrates the ultra-fluid musicianship of these prog masters.
(Season of Mist)

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