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Focus Original recording remastered, Extra tracks

83 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks, October 5, 2004
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Audio, Cassette, September 14, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Roadrunner Records is continuing its' quest to revive catalog sales & save the music industry. With the recent success of its' 2 FROM THE VAULT & BEST OF series, the label famed for housing some of the most influential metal bands of the past 20 years is releasing the classic CYNIC album, FOCUS - REMASTERED. This new version of the record includes never-before-heard bonus tracks, expanded artwork & new liner notes. Another product of the prolific Florida death metal scene, CYNIC distinguished themselves for their unique experiments in combining technically proficient death metal with progressive rock touches, bordering at times on jazz fusion. Their 1993 classic, FOCUS, was hailed as a groundbreaking release in the field of progressive thrash. Besides the band's unquestionable technical prowess, the album also displayed their awesome talent for improvisation & inventive songwriting. Originally released in 1993, the album has been out of print since 1999. After disbanding in 1994, members of the band have since gone on to join bands such as Gordian Knot, O.S.I & Death, but their true masterpiece remains, FOCUS.

1. Veil of Maya
2. Celestial Voyage
3. The Eagle Nature
4. Sentiment
5. I'm but a Wave to...
6. Uroboric Forms
7. Textures
8. How Could I
9. Veil of Maya [2004 Remix][*]
10. I'm But a Wave To... [2004 Remix][*]
11. How Could I [2004 Remix][*]
12. Cosmos
13. The Circle's Gone
14. Endless Endeavors

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 5, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • ASIN: B0002ZYDXS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,536 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on March 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This has been out for about 10 years now and there is still nothing like it. While there are fragments of Cynic's sound appearing in the later works of Sean Malone and Sean Reinert (namely Gordian Knot and Aghora), Cynic remains a unique proclamation among progressive metal.
Although commonly associated with death metal, it sounds nothing like Morbid Angel or Cannibal Corpse. A comparison to Death would probably be closer to the mark, but even that is pretty dubious. The music of _Focus_ is fast and technical, intricately woven together, with complexity at times seeming like a jigsaw puzzle with no solution. The style is defined by an abundance of complex meters & polymeter, microtonality, interlacing non-synchronous parts between all instruments, textural arrangements, refined percussion that is equally understated and fierce, and ostinatos held by one instrument while others weave around it. There are various changes in tonal shades but they are extremely unpredictable and follow few traditional chord changes. The music sounds spontaneous and subtly energized, like the band is channeling it and recording the first take -- but with the complications in meter would make this impossible. There are some elements of world music, but they are very understated since they appear more in compositional concepts than actual exotic timbres in the songs.
Mid-ranged throat-gouging rasps are the dominant vocal feature, but there are also synth-processed vocals and female vocals which lend atmosphere at timely moments. The rasping vocals are not terribly harsh and I like them a lot -- instead of sounding intimidating and aggressive they sound like they are in the midst of some sort of transformation.
Lyrical concepts are far beyond traditional metal, tending to be spiritual and/or occult.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By WulfmanJax on January 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
REVIEW OF REMASTER: it actually sounds GOOD! For an album that had SO much going on, it really sucked to have such a compressed sound with the instruments, vocals, and drums all meshed together. Now you can hear everything. Guitars are seperated left and right nicely. The vocals are front and center and the drums and bass are nice and tight behind everything. The keyboards are everywhere they need to be. Enveloping at times. It gives the album a 3D quality to it. This is the kind of album that deserves to be listened to in a big movie theater on an amazing cd player (maybe a $20,000 Linn Sondek CD12 Anyone?) and amazing speakers with HUGE 5.1 surround sound. But since you can't do that, a nice home setup still makes it sound infinitely better than the original. If there was ever any doubt in my mind what the best metal (not just death metal anymore) album of the 90's was, this remaster just cleared that doubt up.

As for the bonus tracks, i disagree with the first reviewer that said the remixes barely sound different. Maybe my ears are trained to hear differences in sound and tone better (from playing guitar all these years), but i can definitely hear a differece. The remixes have a MUCH more "in your face" quality to them. As a result, alot of the ethereal beauty is taken away. Guitarists, drummers, and the people who like the more headbanging /V\etal moments on the album will probably like these remixes better than the originals. It's too bad they didn't do Uroboric Forms in this manner, as i've always considered it the most metal song on the album.

The three new tracks, as the first reviewer mentioned, are not Cynic, and not metal at all.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By WulfmanJax on May 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The 90's were certainly the apex for death metal. Between the years of 1990 and 1999 death metal evolved from an un-melodic, testosterone fueled, raw form of metal to a genre that matured and began incorporating prog rock, jazz, electronica, and even classical into the music.
Death kicked the door down with the release of "Human" in `91. At the time it was easily the most ambitious death metal album ever and helped pave the way for a new breed of death metal bands that were actually intelligent as well as incredibly brutal. `93 saw the release of Sepultura's masterpiece, "Chaos A.D." and Death's brilliant follow up to "Human", called "Individual Thought Patterns". In `94 Tiamat's "Wildhoney" broke new grounds in death metal by experimenting with psychedelic, ethereal, and even beautiful Pink Floyd-esque soundscapes and melodies that showed death metal didn't have to be ALL about pure aggression.
`95 was unquestionably the biggest year death metal had ever seen. Meshuggah's "Destroy Erase Improve" literally shattered the concept of what "progressive death metal" could be with its mathematical riffs, bass, drums and vocals. At The Gates "Slaughter of the Soul", Dark Tranquility's "The Gallery" and In Flames' "The Jester's Race" all broke new melodic ground, with each featuring a unique take on the genre and all being undisputed masterpieces.
But despite all of that, perhaps the pinnacle of the decade was Cynic's 1993 stunning tour de force "Focus". "Focus" was unlike anything that had come before or after it. With one album, Cynic created a sound and music that was so original and so staggeringly amazing that no death metal band has equaled it since.
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