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Unquestionable Presence - Atheist

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Atheist / Audio CD released 2005-09-05 at Relapse

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      30.01.2008 20:15
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      Atheist's second album (1991).

      Receiving wider recognition today than it ever did on its release, Atheist's second album is the definitive work of technical metal and one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. A large step up from its predecessor, the jazz fusion influence is now perfectly incorporated into one of the tightest metal performances ever recorded, as every band member displays their virtuosity and independence without ever clashing with the unison sound. The most important thing to appreciate about this release is that despite its technical prowess, this is no Yngwie Malmsteen masturbation fest: all of these songs are packed with incredible riffs, melodies and rhythms superior to most death metal bands, and although the constant movement can be disorienting on the first listen, there's such a strong emphasis on developing steady grooves and catchy rhythms elsewhere that metal fans everywhere won't be able to resist. It really is that good.

      Atheist are clearly far from being a typical death metal band, especially for the early nineties, and this is far removed from the genre's usual emphasis on speed, aggression and volume, replacing it with a focus on tight performances with a strong rhythmic focus. Nothing here feels out of place, from the brief guitar, bass and drum solos to the major style shifts of songs like 'An Incarnation's Dream' that moves from an acoustic opening to a heavy, groove-laden section later on and ends up somewhere different altogether, and the songs are all edited to perfection at an average of four minutes each, with no frivolous, overlong "epics" to run out of steam and spoil things.

      The clean production enunciates every instrument perfectly, another improvement from the previous album, and the only real drawback here (that doesn't actually affect this album one bit) was the tragic death of Roger Patterson in a bus accident prior to its recording. Fortunately, he had already composed the excellent bass work that contributes as much to the overall sound as the guitars and is vital for the funky, jazz atmosphere, and Tony Choy plays them fittingly. Kelly Schaefer's vocals are the most typically death metal element here, though even these tend to shift from his standard Chuck Schuldiner style growl to a yell more in line with Pantera's Phil Anselmo in songs like 'Mother Man' and 'The Formative Years,' and without being too aggressive or domineering they shouldn't provide more of a barrier to entry for the casual listener than the rather substantial obstacles that already exist. You don't have to be a death metal fan to like this, but it helps.

      1. Mother Man
      2. Unquestionable Presence
      3. Your Life's Retribution
      4. Enthralled in Essence
      5. An Incarnation's Dream
      6. The Formative Years
      7. Brains
      8. And the Psychic Saw

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Mother Man
      2 Unquestionable Presence
      3 Your Life's Retribution
      4 Enthralled In Essence
      5 Incarnation's Dream
      6 Formative Years
      7 Brains
      8 And The Psychic Saw
      9 Enthralled In Essence
      10 Formative Years
      11 Unquestionable Presence
      12 Incarnation's Dream
      13 Your Life's Retribution
      14 Brains
      15 Enthralled In Essence
      16 Mother Man
      17 And The Psychic Saw