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Cynthesis – DeEvolution: Review

On April 19, the progressive metal band Cynthesis released their debut album through Sensory Records entitled DeEvolution. Though progressive metal is a very broad, loosely defined genre, it is impossible to classify this album as anything else. DeEvolution is a solid definition of the characteristics of prog, but not so much the outer limits.

The Music (rating: B)

  1. The Man Without Skin
  2. Incision
  3. Divided Day
  4. Shallow World
  5. Profits of Disaster
  6. The Edifice Grin
  7. Twilight
  8. A Song of Unrest

Like much of the progressive genre, DeEvolution has its fair share of instrumental complexities, lengthy songs, and unorthodox structuring. The most standout instrument is definitely the bass, though sound-wise it is quite light. There is a great deal of guitar harmonies on the rhythm line, as well as much power chord usage. Along with the complex progressive metal sections, there are also many atmospheric ambient songs and passages richly dispersed throughout the album.

However, with the DeEvolution, it is not as diverse at it seems to be on paper. There are heavy and light sections, but the approach is much too similar. It is often either atmospheric keyboards playing long, single chords or bass-driven riffing with hard drumming. Listen to “Shallow World” then “A Song of Unrest”… they are borderline clones. On the guitar front, a noticeably large percentage of it is harmonized, arpeggiated double-picked notes that ascend then descend; yes, it is that specific. Also, there seems to be only two tempos in the whole album: slow or fast (with the exception of “The Edifice Grin”). They are not ideally juxtaposed with respect to one another. “Divided Day” is a perfect example of this, in which there is a blitzing intro which is awkwardly interrupted by a softer section. Then the intro is brought back in an uncomfortably random manner and leaves just the same. Fast-slow-fast-slow with no bridging of gaps – this one song is a good representation of the whole album. The only mid-tempo song (or section for that matter) is “The Edifice Grin,” which is my personal favorite.

The instruments are all adequate at the least. The bass is undoubtedly the focus of this aspect of the album, giving really groovy basslines that relentlessly forces itself into the spotlight. Though they are quite technically impressive and musically intriguing, they sometimes do not fit. Many of the great basslines are based around higher pitches, those similar to what the other instruments may be playing. It sometimes feels as though there is too much content crammed into a little space. This may also be partially the fault of the other instruments or the overall production, but it definitely could come together more nicely.

With DeEvolution, I found that its album art describes the music itself quite well. It is very tightly defined; there is little leeway between what is given and one’s interpretation. It is rather monotonic in color; there may be many images, but they are painted in an obviously similar way. It is a tad amateurish and under-produced; the music is a tad amateurish and under-produced.

Still, with all the flak that I have given this album, I really thought it was good. I like it for what it is, but I dislike it for what it could have been. The talent and potential are present, but an unfortunate assortment of minor wrongs prevented it from clicking. But the bases are right and the future is bright for the band. There is some cleaning up required, but the messes are easy fixes which can (or preferably will) go a long way. I am most certainly looking forward to how far Cynthesis can leap from this album to the next; I doubt I’ll be surprised.

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