Album Rating: 4.0
Elements is the third release by Florida’s Atheist. The album is more jazz-fusion, infused with Latin rhythms and weird time signatures as opposed to being technical death metal. It's a good record, but it's not on the same level as the two masterpieces that came before it.
There are some great riffs on here, specifically the title track, Water, and Air. Kelly's vocal performance is excellent, the lyrics are solid, Tony Choy is Brilliant, and the two lead guitarists perform some cool solos.
The drumming on this album is good, it's not like it detracts from the listening experience, but Steve Flynn is hugely missed. Steve Flynn is in a league of his own and with his talent I think he could have made this record even better.
While this experimental album has some cool parts, it also has problems in the songwriting department. The main problem is that it's not particularly cohesive and suffers from lack of focus. Pieces like Displacement and Fractal Point used as interludes are boring and utterly useless. Samba Briza gets a pass because of Tony Choy's solid bass line. The mid paced songs Animal and Mineral are repetitive and feel underdeveloped, while the track Fire plods on way too long and is doesn't get good until 3+ minutes in. The track Earth starts off decent enough and then has this atrocious bass drop. What the fuck were they thinking?
Even with it's flaws, this is still an album worth checking out if you are a fan of Atheist, jazz-fusion, or progressive music.
You have to give the band props for throwing this together in 40 days just to fulfill their contract agreement. Atheist could have recorded a turd, but they wrote some interesting music and avoided technical wankery.
I highly recommend the remaster solely for the Unquestionable Presence live tracks.