Good lord, I love Atheist, they are truly one of the most unique, amazingly talented, and most influentual and original sounding technical death metal bands on the planet. Being a huge fan of technical death metal and all, I’ve heard from so many metal fans how amazing this band truly was, I knew at firsthand I had to get into them, and I did just that, and I sure didn’t regret it one bit. I became a fan of Atheist over the summer when I bought “Piece of Time”, “Unquestionable Presence”, and “Elements” at FYE down in Eau Claire. I really had a rough time trying to decide which album to start out with, so I went and bought all three of them, and I was sure glad I did. So afterwards Atheist quickly became one of my all time favorite death metal bands as of right now.
I definately got to say, of all three albums, “Unquestionable Presence” is Atheist’s all time best album, and it’s also a landmark in technical death metal as well as jazz-fusion death metal. “Unequestionable Presence” is an amazing out of this world techical death metal assault loaded with out of this world techical guitar riffs and dazzling scorching solos, incredible odd time signatures, mindblowing tempo changes, awesome jazzy bass lines and fantastic drumming that can be fast and at other times downright funky as well. The lyrics on here deal with outer space, nature, politics, corruption, and other things like that.
Please keep in mind, that the bass lines here on Unquestionable Presence were all written by Roger Patterson whom I consider to be one of the most incredibly gifted, sickest, and most talented bassists in heavy metal. But on Feburary 12, 1991, fate would strike a cruel blow when Roger died in a tour van accident in Louisiana before the recording sessions for the album even took place. However his replacement on the album, Tony Choy (who was also in fellow Floridian death metallers Cynic) came and did such a fantastic job at nailing Roger’s bass lines to absolute perfection. I applaud him for that. Kelly Shaefer’s vocals are I would definately say very similar to Kreator and late-period Death. Together Kelly and Rand Burkey dazzle and amaze the listener with their out of this world guitar riffs and wild mindblowing solos. Steve Flynn’s drumming on here is dare I say absolutely incredible whose beats can range from pounding fast to downright jazzy and funky.
Every song on Unquestionable Presence is just amazing. The opening track “Mother Man” is a very funky song which starts off with a snappy jazz-oriented bass groove, and has great riffs, a killer solo, and a neat bass-driven instrumetal at the end. The title track starts off with a cool intro which sounds like a windstorm and some mellow chords, and also features some fast drums, catchy headbanging riffs, another great solo, some funky bass lines and a memorable chorus to boot. “Retribution” is another memorable favorite that includes more great solos and some head smacking bass lines that would make Flea or even Les Claypool blush with envy. Track four “Enthralled in Essence” has some catchy riffs, some more great solos, and some nice solid double bass drumming as well. Antother classic track, “An Incarnations Dream” starts off with a nice accoustic number and features some weird time signatures. “The Formative Years” features some more solid fast drumming as well as some catchy aggressive riffing, bass lines, and some more jaw-dropping solos to boot, while track seven “Brains” has some more funky head smacking bass and fantastic drumming. Then we finally have the epic closer “And The Psychic Saw” which includes some powerful headbanging riffs and fast pounding drums as well as some nice tempo changes. As for the bonus tracks, we have some pre-production demos from 1990 featuring Roger Patterson which is definately a nice treat.
Jeremy’s song ratings:
Unquestionable Presence album:
1. Mother Man (4:33) – 5/5
2. Unquestionable Presence (4:06) – 5/5
3. Retribution (3:17) – 5/5
4. Enthralled in Essence (3:37) – 5/5
5. An Incarnations Dream (4:52) – 5/5
6. The Formative Years (3:30) – 5/5
7. Brains (3:41) – 5/5
8. And The Psychic Saw (4:49) – 5/5
Pre-Production Demos 8/90 featuring Roger Patterson
9. Enthralled in Essence (3:32) – 5/5
10. The Formative Years (3:29) – 5/5
11. Unquestionable Presence (3:55) – 5/5
12. An Incarnations Dream (4:09) – 5/5
13. Retribution (instrumental) (3:19) – 5/5
14. Brains (instrumental) (3:40) – 5/5
Demo 1990 featuring Roger Patterson
15. Enthralled in Essence (3:44) – 5/5
Drums and Bass Track
16. Mother Man (4:43) – 5/5
17. And The Psychic Saw (4:37) – 5/5
I normally don’t write long reviews, but since that this album is soooooo good, I thought that it deserved a long well thought out written review. Bottom Line: If you call yourself a fan of prog/technical death metal and you’ve not experienced the music of Atheist, then you are truly missing out. I’m sure glad I experienced it. Buy this classic album now, heck buy all their albums, I’m glad I did. Later dudes!!