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Atheist - Elements CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 297 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I have always liked Atheist and their technical/jazzy/progressive Death Metal style. I think they are all great musicians. However, "Elements" ups it to a whole another level. This was one of the few albums I have that I can call a masterpiece without any thought. This album ended up with 3 guitarists, Kelly Shaefer handles rhythm guitar, (and vocals) while the other 2 swap lead and solos and I think this gives the album a wild sound. It is almost a non stop attack throughout. Tony Choy may not be Roger Patterson but he superbly on bass, and drummer Josh Greenbaum I do not like as much as Steve Flynn but he holds his own, and his drumming style fits the music well.

"Elements" is a lot more jazzy then its predecessor's, A LOT more. However, it does retain its metal sound in its guitars, some solos, and Kelly's vocals are the same as the first 2 albums, which I personally enjoy. His vocal style is not the "death growl" and I really can not put my finger on it. It is a snarly yell, and I love the way he sounds. This whole album has technical, odd, guitar riffs. Time signature changes throughout, jazz fusion-esque dueling solos, some great bass work, (heavily jazz inspired of course) and jazzy drumming with some strong Latin influences. As I said earlier I think the drum work on this album is less technical then before, but that is fine because pure technical prowess is not what this album is about.

My problem with a lot of Technical Metal bands is they try to hard I think. They go over the top/to the extreme to display their technicality and mastery of time signatures, etc (Meshuggah comes to mind). It can be very overwhelming even to hard line fans like myself. "Elements" though is truly jazzy, (do not want to over use that word) and while technical it has a great feel to it. Just like in pure jazz, when I listen to this album I can not help but tap my feet, swing my body, all without even noticing. Every song just has a great, catchy feel to it and each song is different, (while still the same style of course). I really do not how Atheist did it!

My favorite songs on the album: Samba Briza: This song is pure Latin Jazz. Not metal in the least, and I love it! Air: For some reason I love the vocals on this song a little more then the rest. So much emotion in some of the screaming. Also, the technicality, groovy riffs, and some great solos! Elements: Great intro, and breathtaking guitar work throughout. The solo at the end is beautiful sounding. However, every song is gold and I can not pick one favorite. Few albums are out there where I like every song, and even fewer of those I LOVE every one. "Elements" is one of them. Also one of the few where every musician on it is PERFECT. They all mold together wonderfully.

I suppose the vocals could be a bit tough, (or if you're not into heavy guitar) but I think even a lot of regular proggers can enjoy this album. Without a doubt: FIVE STARS!

JJLehto | 5/5 |


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