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Atheist - Unquestionable Presence CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.20 | 337 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This album proved to be rather strange for me. It was my first exposure to jazz metal, and I got it because of the many fantastic things I'd heard about it. When I first heard it, I thought it sounded like really demented technical death metal in odd time signatures, but didn't really hear the jazz much on the first song, Mother Man, which opened with a really strange yet groovy drum beat. On the second song and title track, the jazz became much more obvious with a bass line in the middle of the song, which almost sounded like a twisted walking bass technique you'd expect to hear in jazz. Retribution starts with a guitar riff with growls alternating in between the riffs. Spooky, but it works very well. The guitar solo on this song is insane. Enthralled in Essence starts with one of my favorite guitar riffs in the whole album and also has another killer bass line starting halfway through the song. An Incarnations Dream starts with an acoustic passage along with what sounds like a siren mixed with the wind and thunder from a fierce storm, quite a beautiful passage really. Once the sound effects go away, the acoustic passage continues with a brief solo before returning the listener to jazzy metal from hell. This is possibly my favorite track from the album. The Formative Years starts with a single note held by the one guitar while the other guitar saws away before both come in with ridiculous riffs. I don't even know how some of the drum rolls on this song are possible. A nice bass line comes in around 1:30 followed by what sounds like alternating guitar solos. Actually, this song really has more like 3 or 4 solo sections. Brains starts with lead and rhythm guitars alternating back and forth. Also has yet another nice bass riff which makes me wish learning bass could go faster so I could pull off some really cool riffs like the ones on this album. And The Psychic Saw starts with a guitar line that is almost as enjoyable as the one at the beginning of Enthralled in Essence. And once again we are treated to another fantastic bass riff that is played along a guitar solo. The song oddly enough ends with a gong being struck. So overall impressions of the album itself: very technical (and that's probably an understatement), very jazzy for metal, and unless you like death metal, then this album is probably going to take some getting used to. However, I would urge you if you're thinking of trying out some jazz metal to start with Cynic first as they are much more melodic and then move on to Atheist, particularly this album. This is definitely an album that any prog fan that enjoys jazz fusion should at least check out, as it is a very interesting and enjoyable take on jazz-turned-metal. Certainly a masterpiece and deserving of every single one of the 5 stars I give it.
horsewithteeth11 | 5/5 |


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