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Atheist - Jupiter CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.35 | 119 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Jupiter' - Atheist (6/10)

Undeniably one of the year's most anticipated releases, death metal legends Atheist are coming back for another album. After a wait thats amounted to being almost twenty long years for the band's fanbase, tensions are understandably high for the release of 'Jupiter.' Being a band that essentially pioneered the concept that the otherwise disparate genres of metal and jazz could be merged as one, Atheist have already solidified their spot as legends of the scene, regardless of this record's impact. While I have never been a hardcore fan of the band's work, I have acknowledged the band's immense talent in the past, as well as their ability to make some greatly complex and intelligent 'extreme' metal. 'Jupiter' does indeed affirm the concept of their great talent and skill, but beyond it's polished technicality and performance, the album doesn't greatly distinguish itself from the legions of other technical metal acts now around.

A difference from the masterpieces that defined Atheist as an act, and this modern adaptation of their sound is the fact there is very little actual 'jazz' here, for a proclaimed jazz metal act. While nuances of the style pop up in the instrumental composition, 'Jupiter' is by and large, a solely metal effort. Over the course of half an hour (it is a particularly short release) there is an unrelenting barrage of heaviness upon the listener, whose only respite is through the brief pauses in between tracks. In terms of being purely technical metal however, Atheist gives a solid display. There is a very thrashy element here in 'Jupiter,' and while the album may lack the jazzier dimension of their previous work, it's still evident that this is an Atheist work.

While the instrumentation is complex, frenetic and impressive, one thing that greatly deters from 'Jupiter' is the very weak vocal presentation that growler Kelly Shaefer gives. While Atheist has never been a band that built their fanbase on the foundation of lyrical brilliance and vocal beauty, Shaefer finds a distinct and annoying style that lingers between conventional death metal growling, and some degree of nasal shouting that really detracts from the effect of the music.

Atheist's 'Jupiter' is an impressive comeback for the legendary death metal act, but as might be expected, it doesn't amount to the grandeur of their early days. There are some great riffs here, but a lack of variety, short length, and poor vocal work deters from the otherwise great, technical playing of these guys. 'Jupiter' is nowhere near exceptional, but it's essential listening for any of the group's more devout followers.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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