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Atheist - Unquestionable Presence CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.20 | 337 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars The second part of Atheist's trilogy almost came to a complete halt after the band's original bass player Roger Patterson was killed in a car accident right before the recording of Unquestionable Presence. Luckily, the future Cynic collaborator, Tony Choy was brought in as a replacement and even though most of the material was written before he joined, Choy really managed to make his mark on this record!

The first sounds that are heard on the album opening Mother Man are in fact the sweet sounds of a bass guitar which becomes even more unique considering that Death Metal, in general, isn't the kindest genre for bass players to get recognition in. The first minute of the opening number reveals almost all of the shades that Atheist have managed to obtain since their debut album and the results are impressive to say the least! Still, the best is yet to come and after listening to another three strictly Tech/Extreme Prog Metal tunes we finally get to an impressive display of acoustic introduction on An Incarnation's Dream with a few latin rhythm moments added into the mix. The rest of the composition returns to the more familiar sound level until it slows down for a jazz-like harmony demonstration towards the middle of the performance only to return to its roots right at the end. Easily the biggest highlight from the album!

Out of the last three tracks, Formative Years and And The Psychic Saw are the ones that share a reoccurring theme of upbeat playing that at times almost makes Atheist sound as if they plan to cross the border to realms of Power Metal. Of course they never really cross that line and instead demonstrate to us, once again, their highly versatile style. Brains is a slightly different beast that actually reminds me more of the opening track Mother Man, with many spontaneous shifts in rhythm and quite unusual time signatures-display.

If I had to rate this album only a few years ago then it would have easily received my highest praise, but as I grow older I start to notice minor flaws that actually become real obstacles on that path to glory. Let's face it, the album's product have never really suited this music that much. The raw and almost low-fi sounding production that gave Piece Of Mind an even greater Death Metal-edge sounds slightly out of place when Atheist start adding latin and jazz elements into their repertoire. Luckily their final album got rid of most of these flaws, but more on that later!

***** star songs: Mother Man (4:34) An Incarnation's Dream (4:52) Brains (3:41)

**** star songs: Unquestionable Presence (4:07) Your Life's Retribution (3:17) Enthralled In Essence (3:38) The Formative Years (3:31) And The Psychic Saw (4:45)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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