I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, “Hold the phone there, Cochise. You love Cynic. You've loved Cynic practically since before there was a Cynic. How could you possibly go against them?”
Friends, it's simple. Perhaps it's my longstanding support of the band that frees me to tell it like it is, or maybe it's once again a matter of context, but I feel it's my duty to tell you that this is not at all metal in any fucking way, shape, or form.
Whew. Been waiting a long time to say that.
Don't get me wrong: “Carbon-Based Anatomy” is brilliant in its own way. It's definitely an evolution of what Paul Masvidal et al. have been crafting all along, and it's one of the most interesting releases of 2011. I'm definitely intrigued to hear what a full-length release will reveal. But, and this is important, if you're gonna write a song with Elves or Fairies in the title, you had better be Black fucking Sabbathy about it; this LP is not. I want a bench press, not Downward Dog. Sting rocks harder that this, and now you know I'm not even kidding.
You know what Cynic should have put out? Precisely what TesseracT released as its debut album. One of this year's most nuanced and textured djent albums, “One” is every bit the exploration of virtuosity and power that I wanted (and didn't get) from Cynic. “Lament”, the first track, sets the stage with a complicated polyrhythm that eventually coalesces into a groove, just long enough for you to grasp it as the song ends. That's pretty much the dynamic of this whole slippery album, and it makes for enjoyable listening time and again. And then there's “Concealing Fate” — it's hard to think of this six-song, 27-minute suite as anything other than the band's masterwork. The album isn't perfect by any means — in particular, it feels a bit too cold and mechanical to really inspire catharsis, and it never really actually cuts loose — but it's more than match enough for Cynic. So in the upset of the week, TesseracT takes the prize!
Tomorrow, American Heritage challenges Protest The Hero. That made no grammatical sense at all.