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Atheist - Piece Of Time CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.77 | 136 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Atheist is one of those special bands that I really wanted to spare from reviewing until I found that perfect moment where everything just felt right. Today is the first day of August and it's a great summer day here in Stockholm so what better way to enjoy such a wonderful day than to sit outside in the shade with the Atheist-trilogy coming out of the sound system? It's unfortunate that the Atheist legacy merely spawned three albums in the early '90s and ever since the 2006 reunion I've kept my fingers crossed for some new material. Now that the news of a new studio album have been confirmed I might as well make a swift retrospective of the classic trilogy just to give you all a hint of what to expect from this years new release.

Piece Of Time was the band's debut album released in 1990. Listening to it today will most probably make you think about the Thrash Metal scene of the '80s fronted by bands like Slayer and Megadeth. This is very understandable considering that Piece Of Time was actually recorded in 1988 but didn't hit the music stores until two years later. By that time the Metal craze began to fade in popularity with the casual listener, meaning that new bands who simply rehashed the Thrash Metal blueprint didn't stand a chance in this new environment. Of course Atheist was far from just mere imitators and this release could definitely back up that claim!

Technical experimentation in Death Metal began to really take form by the late '80s and early '90s with bands like Death, Cynic and Atheist as the front runners in this new exploration. I'm not saying that this new sub-genre attracted that many Glam Metal fans, nor did the avid Thrash and Death Metal listeners always recognized it as a way in the right direction for the genre as a whole. Fusing elements of Jazz, Metal while adding a lot of progressive mentality into the mix actually attracted new audience to this sub-genre than any other Metal style was assumed to be capable of at the time and that in itself was revolutionary for Metal as a genre. All of a sudden fans of vintage prog and jazz began to expand their horizons with a touch of metal in their daily life!

As for Atheist's debut, it definitely showed the world that Metal music could be much more versatile by playing their hearts out on Piece Of Time. It's true that this album was only the first step in the band's very rapid evolution over the next few years and I can definitely understand anyone who would dismiss this release for not sounding all that progressive. In it's defense I can only state that "Piece Of Time" might not sound like your average Tech/Extreme Prog Metal album in style but it does more than make up for it in spirit! The opening title track and On They Slay fill you up with the necessary dosage of Prog Metal while the rest of the material ranges its style from pure Thrash Metal to by-the-numbers Death Metal performances. Plus, let's not forget that the album's cover has a shape that resembles Stonehenge embedded into it's collage which should almost be considered obligatory for any respectable Death Metal band to do at least once in their career!

Overall, Piece Of Time might not be as strong as the two albums proceeding it but it has its share of excellent moments to make it an excellent part of any progressive rock collection. Especially if you're not really a fan of the Tech Metal genre and just what the most essential material from the granddaddies of the genre!

***** star songs: Piece Of Time (4:33) On They Slay (3:38)

**** star songs: Unholy War (2:18) Room With A View (4:05) Beyond (2:59) I Deny (4:00) No Truth (4:36)

*** star songs: Why Bother (2:56) Life (3:12)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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