Focus cover

Focus

Released

Guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert formed Cynic in 1987, and had already been through multiple other members before recording Focus in 1993. Joined by bassist Sean Malone and second guitarist Jason Gobel, they employed keyboards, guitar synths, and Chapman stick to give the music a kind of cybernetic jazz fusion feel. Growling vocalist Tony Teegarden was balanced by Masvidal’s robotic croon (using a vocoder) and clean background voices from Sonia Otey and Steve Gruden, and the guitars frequently shifted from precise, crunching riffs to pastoral shimmers as Malone’s fretless bass wanders in blissful patterns. Couple the music with the almost hippie spiritualism of Masvidal’s lyrics, and you’ve got an album that baffled many metalheads upon release, but is now regarded as a classic.

Phil Freeman

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