Atheist are back! And it's like they never were gone. Surely a candidate for metal album of the year, their fourth album "Jupiter" is jam packed with technical death metal, progressive metal, thrash metal and jazzy goodies (although this album is less jazzy than both "Elements" and "Unquestionable Presence") - and there's even a bit of slapping and popping bass in a couple of places.. In a way, it sounds a bit like "A Piece of Time", "Unquestionable Presence" and "Elements" and yet it sounds different from them; that is, Atheist, I think manage to draw on their corpus of music, taking the best parts, and adding new elements (pun not intended), thus creating an album in "Jupiter" which seems like a natural evolutionary step musically - and maybe that's one of the reasons why this album makes it seem like it was last year that "Elements" was released. I mean, the fast death-thrash parts that we know from "A Piece of Time" are back, the jazzy weirdness that we know from "Unquestionable Presence" are back, and the Latin influences from "Elements" are back, and they're seamlessly combined into a masterpiece of an album. Just check out the opening track which, "Second to Sun", simply is a cascade of unusual chords, weird drumming and strange changes and riff figures. Pure genius! "Faux King Christ" is another fantastic track with its use of fast Latin drum figures combined with general metal carnage. The production, i think is crisp and clean, but to my ears, we are not talking overproduction here. The guitars have a razor sharp sound, and in some riffs, they wound like a swarm of Africanized killer bees on the rampage. As J-Man points out, this is all killer, no filler and so I cannot give this album anything less than five stars. Recommended to Atheist fans, and to fans of tech/prog death metal in general - they certainly should check out this come-back album by some of the pioneers of technical and progressive death metal (although this is closer to thrash metal than death metal really). (review originally released on metalmusicarchives.com)
Piece of Time is the debut full-length studio album by American technical death metal act Atheist. A classic album in the genre. While Piece of Time holds many great elements it´s not fully on par with its two successors Unquestionable Presence and Elements. It should be considered a seminal album in the technical death metal genre though and songs like the title track and especially I Deny are excellent examples of Atheist at their best.
Elements is the third full-length studio album by Americanjazz/ fusiondeath metal act Atheist. A groundbreaking mix of fusion/ jazz, latin musical elements and death metal. Elements takes the the fusion elements that Atheist introduced on Unquestionable Presence and and builds even further on their already unique style. A seminal album in the genre and a true masterpiece IMO. The musicianship is outstanding in addition to some really innovative compositions.
One of my absolute favorite albums. I´ve listened to this album countless times since I got it almost 20 years ago and I never get tired of it. With Unquestionable Presence, Atheist showed that they were light years ahead of their contemporary death metal collegues. Themix of thrashy death metal and jazz/ fusion elements was something unheard of at that time. A truly groundbreaking album which paved the way for other technical / progressive death metal artists like Cynic, Gorguts and Pestilence ( IMO even Death were influenced by Atheist and visa versa of course). A Masterpiece.
Probably one of the most original releases within the world of extreme metal ever, "Elements" is also one of the most underappreciated ones; probably because it's hard to get one's head around with its blend of progressive metal, fusion-like jazz, and Latin rhythmic patterns. But this is also what makes "Elements" a very interesting and enjoyable listen.
Samba Briza 1:58
Fractal Point 0:44
See You Again 1:17
quot;Unquestionable Presence" is not an easy listen if you are a newcomer to extreme progressive metal, and it contains many parts that will make you scratch your head - but that's exacly why it's a great challenging listen. There are a lot of jazzy drives on this album which sometimes make it sound like an evil "20th Century Schizoid Man".
Mother Man 4:34
The Formative Years 3:30
And the Psychic Saw 4:44
It's releases like this one which caused me not to abandon death metal completely back in the 90s when it degenerated into a generic mass of unimpressive standard clone-like reseases. Bands like Atheist, Cynic and Death really stand out from the crowd, and on this release Atheist succesfully integrate elements from influences such as Rush, Slayer and Mercyful Fate into their own progressive death metal style - which is slightly reminiscent of Death, yet very original. Especially the basslines and the combination of technical prog metallish riffs with simple Slayeresque thrash riffs make "Piece of Time" an interesting listen.
Piece of Time 4:32
Unholy War 2:18
Room With a View 4:05
On They Slay 3:37
I Deny 3:59
Why Bother? 2:55
No Truth 4:27