The much-worshipped prog metallers Cynic were more noticed long after their now-classic 1993 release, 'Focus.' They released their second album, 'Traced in Air,' in 2008, but they will be heading out this July on the inaugural Decibel Hall of Fame Tour, where they will, well, focus on 'Focus,' playing the entire album, as well as tracks from 'Traced in Air.'

"We knew we needed to do a U.S. tour for 'Traced In Air' after all the support tours we've done, and everything seemed to line up in correlation with the Decibel award," Paul Masvidal told Noisecreep about their decision to play the whole of their first album. "Decibel made 'Focus' a Hall of Fame record earlier this year. So, considering we'd be headlining and have only two official releases under our belt, performing all of 'Focus' made sense, especially since we haven't performed this album in it's entirety for U.S. audiences since the album was released in the early '90s."

For those who might not know what a Decibel Hall of Fame piece is, it's a 7,000 word, well-researched piece of journalism that focuses on landmark albums, featuring interviews with every member who played on the album. An arduous task, yes, but it results in page-turning articles.

The tour will hit most of the major U.S. cities, along with some key Canadian dates. Experimental instrumental trio Dysrhythmia open the show and proggers Intronaut provide the direct support. "We're bringing a unique experience to the fans with lots of new details and aesthetics in our performance," Masvidal also said. "It's been super exciting for us to finally begin doing a show on our terms."

As mentioned, 'Focus' was bigger in hindsight. Metalheads flocked to the album a decade later, as it evolved into a cult classic. Masvidal's theory for this phenomena is that "good taste in the metal scene takes time to blossom. One theory is that 'Focus' recieved a lot of kudos from fellow artists. These artists eventually grew in popularity and that helped spread the word over time. I also notice that the basic stylistic approach of 'Focus' -- which was more progressive and challenging musically than the norm of the day, and also incorporating a melodic voice with a growl contrast -- seems to be quite common now. So it seems the times essentially caught up with what we were doing, and the album became relevant as a result. I suppose well-crafted songs don't hurt, either."

Cynic are currently in Europe, headlining and playing summer festivals. They released an EP, 'Re-Traced,' which in Cynical fashion, takes their art to a whole other level. Masvidal -- a columnist over at MetalSucks, whose column has become "sort of an open journal about life musings" -- said, "It introduces an entirely new perspective on half of the 'Traced in Air' record. We plan to actively work on album number three in the downtime between the next couple tours and then full time after that till it's ready."

So nearly 20 years after the release of 'Focus,' Cynic aren't too bitter, jaded or -- natch -- cynical about doing what they do, having done it for so long. "Sheer love of the craft," Masvidal said as to why the band continues. "I have a tremendous sense of gratitude to be able to have a life work that is so transparent and real in terms of a reflective creative process. It's a joy to be an artist and write songs. There's inherent stresses that come with the music business, but that's the nature of any work that has a relationship with the public and popular culture. We're learning how to dance our way through it one moment at a time. Moving through it requires constant practice and one is tested regularly, to make sure you haven't lost your step."

He left us with a very positive, uplifting sentiment, as well, saying, "When life beats you down, try opening your heart a bit further and see if there's a part of you that can take the beating with some dignity and grace. Life's not here to make us happy. It's here to wake us up." Something to gnaw on, mentally.

Cynic tour dates

7/22 -- Los Angeles, CA -- El Rey Theatre

7/23 -- San Francisco, CA -- Slim's

7/24 -- Portland, OR -- Hawthorne Theater

7/26 -- Vancouver, BC CANADA Commodore Ballroom

7/28 -- Denver, CO -- Marquis Theatre

7/30 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Station 4

7/31 -- Chicago, IL -- Bottom Lounge

8/01 -- Detroit, MI -- Magic Stick

8/02 -- Toronto, ON CANADA Opera House

8/04 -- Montreal, QC CANADA Café Campus

8/05 -- Boston, MA -- Harpers Ferry

8/06 -- New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom

8/07 -- Philadelphia, PA -- The Trocadero

8/08 -- Washington, DC -- The Rock and Roll Hotel

8/09 -- Carrboro, NC -- Cat's Cradle

8/10 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Masquerade

8/12 -- Orlando, FL -- The Social

8/13 -- Ft Lauderdale, FL -- Culture Room