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Atheist - Unquestionable Presence CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.20 | 337 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The best of ATHEIST's three avant-garde death-jazz offerings, 'Unquestionable Presence' almost wins me over.

There's a great deal to like. Like it's sister band CYNIC (they shared a bassist at this point), ATHEISTS bristles with technical perfection and screams with energy. Unlike CYNIC (fortunately), the sound is not over-processed, though the vocals are too far down in the mix, making for difficult listening. The time signatures are plain crazy, almost MESHUGGAH-like, and the only stable thing about this album is the relentless change of metre and pace - ponderous one moment, galloping the next.

For me, though, all these things amount to something less than a masterpiece. There is no real rationale for riffs appearing and disappearing: the listener is not led anywhere by the chopped-up songs. The very best music of any genre is more than an appreciation of its component parts. At times KELLY SHAEFER sounds like an even angrier FISH rather than a testosterone-laden death metal vocalist. The Florida death metal scene really seemed to have trouble with their vocalists: CYNIC's, for example, was atrocious.

And there's the album's brevity. Eac son seem cu shor. The whole album ends before it's hardly started. Good for keeping up intensity, but 32 minutes isn't really enough to immerse oneself in.

For me this is a three-star album - with an extra star acknowledging its historical importance. A tech-metal gem, but not likely to appeal to a general prog audience.

russellk | 4/5 |


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