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Atheist Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken album cover
3.53 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1:
1. Unquestionable Presence (4:53)
2. On the Slay (4:01)
3. Unholy War (2:28)
4. Your Life's Retribution (3:17)
5. An Incarnation's Dream (3:54)
6. Mother Man (5:59)
7. And The Psychic Saw (5:29)
8. Piece Of Time (5:58)

Total Time: 35:59

Disc 2:
1. Piece Of Time (4:33)
2. I Deny (4:00)
3. Unholy War (2:18)
4. Room With A View (4:05)
5. Mother Man (4:33)
6. Unquestionable Presence (4:07)
7. And The Psychic Saw (4:49)
8. An Incarnation's Dream (4:52)
9. Mineral (4:33)
10. Water (4:28)
11. Air (5:34)

Total Time: 47:52

Line-up / Musicians

Line-up Disc 1:
- Kelly Shaefer / vocals
- Tony Choy / bass
- Steve Flynn / drums
- Sonny Carson / guitars
- Chris Baker / guitars

Line-up Disc 2:
- Randy Burkey / guitar
- Tony Choy / guitar, bass
- Marcell Dissantos / drums
- Frank Emmi / guitar
- Josh Greenbaym / drums
- Kelly Shaefer / rhythm guitar, vocals
- David Smadbeck / piano
- Roger Patterson / bass ( 1, 2, 3 & 4)
- Steve Flynn / drums ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8)

Releases information

Label: Relapse Records.
Release Date: 21st of July 2009.
First Disc contains the band's reunion performance at Wacken in 2006.
The second Disc is a compilation/ best of.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
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ATHEIST Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ATHEIST Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken" is a combined live/compilation double CD album release by US technical/progressive extreme metal act Atheist. Itīs also a kind of comeback album as Atheist re-united in 2006 after thirteen years of absence from the scene. Disc 1 features the band's full live reunion performance at Wacken in 2006 while Disc 2 is a best of/compilation album which features select tracks from all of the three classic Atheist albums "Piece of Time (1990)", "Unquestionable Presence (1991)" and "Elements (1993)". The album was released through Relapse Records in July 2009.

Disc 1 which features the live concert is probably what will excite most people (at least the fans who already have the studio albums) and while the set only lasts 35:59 minutes and only features 8 tracks (all taken from "Piece of Time (1990)" and "Unquestionable Presence (1991)" and none from "Elements (1993)") itīs a great performance by an energetic band. Vocalist Kelly Shaefer and drummer Steve Flynn are the only original members left in the lineup while bassist Tony Choy (Cynic, Pestilence, C-187, Area 305) who played on both "Unquestionable Presence (1991)" and "Elements (1993)" return for another stint with Atheist. Guitarists Sonny Carson and Chris Baker (both members of Gnostic, which also features Steve Flynn in the lineup) are new in the Atheist lineup. The setlist is great although I miss "I Deny" and find it a bit strange that "Elements (1993)" is not represented. The reason might be that drummer Steve Flynn didnīt play on "Elements (1993)". The performance is pretty raw sounding yet enjoyable and Kelly Shaefer and Steve Flynn actually comment in the 24 page booklet that there are no overdubs. This is how it actually sounded on that day which they are rightfully proud of. The sound quality is not really great but this is not a bootleg production by any means either.

Disc 2 features 11 tracks personally compiled by Kelly Shaefer and Steve Flynn and they make comments about each of the tracks selected for the compilation in the 24 page booklet. Lots of little anekdotes for the fans. Track selections on compilation albums can always be discussed but personally I think theyīve chosen the right tracks for this release. This second disc might not be very interesting to an old time fan like myself as I have the three original albums, but for newcomers disc 2 is a great way of getting acquainted with Atheist.

As the live part of the album is enjoyable leaning towards the excellent and the tracks chosen for the compilation are great and gives a decent insight for newcomers to how Atheist sounds I think a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is warranted.

Review by Rune2000
3 stars Please note that this is strictly a review of the first half of this album which contains the live performance from Wacken 2006. As for the second half that contains a best of-compilation, allow me to refer to my reviews of the original album trilogy since most of these tracks were already covered there.

Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken is a misleading album title since it originally made me assume that this was a gig solely, or at least primarily, dedicated to the highly acclaimed album titled Unquestionable Presence. This is not really the case since this performance features almost as many songs from the band's debut album, while Elements is completely ignored and I won't even go into the compilation part of this 2 CD release.

Before deciding whether I wanted to listen to this album on Spotify I read up on this release and found out that the whole recording was a spontaneous such. The band weren't originally planning to release this live performance but after hearing the Wacken recording, where the show promoters individually channeled each instrument making the final mix sound much more professional than the live recording that Atheist were originally planing to release as their first official live album, they were almost obliged to release it. According to the band's website, the members made sure not to enhance or edit this raw live recording and just released it the way it sounded during the show.

The idea of not editing the performance definitely sounded more heroic on paper than the actual experience would give it credit for since the production is definitely lacking in the overall sound department. This sound quality is almost on the same level as modern live albums that are done by bootleggers today and lacks any sound enhancement that would have made the experience truly enjoyable. This first reaction didn't really surprise me too much since both studio albums, Piece Of Time and Unquestionable Presence, have their own flaws in the production. Pretty soon I got used to the sound quality and moved my focus to the music that was performed.

Unlike the claims from the band members who mentioned that the performance wasn't as tight as they wanted it to be, I couldn't find any fatal errors that would support that claim. All of the members do a great job even though David Choy's contribution often falls out of the general sound picture due to the previously mentioned recording constrains. It also surprised me that while the studio albums mostly interested me for their progressive pieces, here it's those more simple Death Metal moments that completely steal the show. Songs like On The Slay, Unholy War and Your Life's Retribution actually sound more appealing here than on the original studio takes while favorites like Unquestionable Presence, Mother Man and Piece Of Time loose almost all of their magic in this very raw live setting. I think that this has a lot to do with Atheist's attempt to sound even more brutal than what they did on their studio albums. Seeing that Wacken is a notorious heavy metal festival I can imagine that the band almost felt obliged to give their most brutal performance that they possibly could conceive.

Unless you're Meshuggah, chances are that you'll loose most of your prog edge when you twitch your sound this much and this Atheist performance definitely fell victim to this. Still, I really can't complain about the enthusiasm level from the band members that can be felt during the gig which definitely makes me interested in what this reformed lineup plans to do on their upcoming studio album!

***** star songs: On the Slay (4:01)

**** star songs: Unholy War (2:28) An Incarnation's Dream (3:54) Mother Man (5:59) And The Psychic Saw (5:29) Piece Of Time (5:58)

*** star songs: Unquestionable Presence (4:53) Your Life's Retribution (3:17)

Latest members reviews

3 stars I am the first one to review this album so I will start with some buyer's guidance first. This is a double CD with the live album from Wacken on CD 1 and a best-off studio compilation album on CD 2. The latter one probably as a bonus CD although this is not stated. Unquestionable Presence: Liv ... (read more)

Report this review (#240992) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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