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Atheist - Unquestionable Presence CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.20 | 337 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I had a very mixed standpoint when approaching this album, I had heard some very good things about it, the jazz-metal label and the technicality I had heard about excited me very much but the death metal assosciation I was very apprehensive about as I had never liked that kind of music, it was a groundbreaking experience for me exploring new territories of music and indeed this album was fairly groundbreaking itself (and very influential).

So I put this album on and in the first 10 seconds - it kicked my ass, I was as giddy as a kid on christmas day, super tight, super technical, sweet riffs - just awesome. Mother man is a fantastic song it's a very good introduction and summary of what to expect from these guys, it starts off in rather odd timing with an incomprehensible drum beat and a sweet harmonised guitar riff and then moves on into a thrashy riff, later on there is a bitchin' solo, more crazy timing and then a soft jazz influenced ending - wonderfully written.

As for the instrumentation well what is there to say, let's start with the rythmn section - frankly god damn amazing, the songs are written around them and it really shows. On the remaster there are bonus tracks including a drum and bass track for mother man and that is entertaining on it's own. The drums are funky as hell, steve flynn is obviously a jazz trained drummer, the thing I love most about him is he doesn't just rely on super fast double kick or blasting like a lot of death metal drummers, he has some amazingly groovy and technical beats - top marks. Tony choy, what a bassist a veteran of the genre from such accalimed bands as cynic, he grooves out too with some great slap bass technique and really nice bass riffs. Let's not forget the guitars, I guess it's harder to appreciate great guitarists these days I find as bloody everyone is a shredder but kelly schaefer and rand burkey are very very competent, their harmonies are super tight, their solos are bitchin' and most importantly their riffs are technical and awesome. The vocals I find are perfect, they are relatively high pitched they are a lot 'lighter' and less guttural than most death metal vocals.

Every song on the album is solid as a rock and they all have some sweet part that you'll want to come back and listen to it for, my personal favourites are mother man and and the psychic saw but I'm certainly not going to be skipping through the other songs so I can hear them.

I have seen the band cop a fair bit of criticism for playing too many riffs and trollop like that and I hear people complain that you know it's emotionally devoid etc but you know if you listen to space rock or symphonic prog all day and then whack this baby on you're going to think that, The songs are perfectly written I barely even notice the amount of riffs that they go through - and it really doesn't matter either because the music is great. Highly recommended for any fan of heavier prog metal, thrash, technical or death metal.

FruMp | 5/5 |


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