Atheist
Piece of Time


4.5
superb

Review

by Ad Absurdum USER (11 Reviews)
May 16th, 2005 | 315 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist


Piece of Time was the debut album from the pioneers of technical death metal, Atheist. Chaos aplenty mixed in with crazy rhythmic structure seems to be the formula Atheist were striving for with the release of this album. The death metal elements of this album are relatively light in comparison to some of the more brutal bands that came out of Florida at the same time (Obituary, Death, Morbid Angel) but the technical, jazzy rhythms on this release are the real gem in it.

After the brief introduction with use of violoning from the guitars we are hit with a funky bass and then the guitar joins in all in some crazy rhythm (alternating bars of 3/8 and 5/8 perhaps?). The riffs are excellent, very technical, very heavy and totally insane. Obviously the whole band has a great deal of technical talent, in particular the Steve Flynn on drums seems to me to know his kit very well. A rather common feature of this album is an ascending or descending guitar runs in sequences whilst the drums and bass hit on the first beat, which has a really nice effect and obviously is a way for the guitarists to show off. Although this album is highly technical, it isn't a prog album - there aren't five minute solos (in fact there isn't even a five minute song!) as the band plays more than enough technical music in their riffs and their short solo breaks. The vocals are good enough, although it's obvious they aren't the main attraction of this work.

Perhaps my favourite song on the album (it's hard to say, I love them all), Room With A View, starts off with a relatively simple riff on guitar worthy of a headbang (although the drums are still pretty complex) and after the first vocal section we have a totally unmelodic, Reign in Blood type solo. The solo following the next vocal section is more melodic which shows the guitarists are capable of a certain amount of versatility in their solos; also, the sequenced runs following this solo sound amazing. However the real highlights is the rhythmic aspects, for example at 1:58 all instruments drop out except the bass which holds a stacatto riff before the drums come back in hitting everything in perfect time (it's totally syncopated) with the bass while the guitar plays something totally different. The execution of such complex pieces is astounding - if played wrong it would be a disaster but play correctly, it sounds amazing.

There's plenty of other great moments on this album though, plenty of highly technical solos and interludes. There's the minute and a half long classical introdution to the closing track, "No Truth" which then kicks into one of the greatest technical songs ever written. High paced technical riffs and the vioce of a madman layered over the top is most definately a winning formula in my book (and the chorus could almost be considered melodic!). Another part that always sticks in my head is when Kelly shouts "It's God's way says your horrid wife" before the band launches into one of the craziest sections on the album that is rhythmicly complex as such that it is remeniscent of Meshuggah.

The one things I hate about this album is it was so damn difficult to review! There is just so much going on that once you go into a little bit of detail, you find yourself having to explain a great deal to try and describe it. In short, it's one of those albums that you just have to hear to believe, there's so much going on that every time you listen you will hear something new going on.

It might not be the most technical release ever (Obscura anyone?), but after listening to this album, you know that Atheist were the pioneers of the genre and they done it damn well. They might not get the recognition they deserve behind bands like Cynic and Meshuggah but they sure as hell deserve some. Atheist were the pioneers of the genre and they taught the bands that followed them how to play this music. Although it's perhaps slightly primitive and repetitive after a while, Piece of Time is a bible to be worshipped by all fans of technical death metal.

4.5/5



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user ratings (655)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Technical101 (5)
Atheist create an absolute masterpiece with "Piece of Time"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mardy
May 16th 2005


36 Comments


this band is incredible! RIP Roger Patterson

br3ad_man
Emeritus
May 16th 2005


2125 Comments


Great review. I have the other two Atheist albums, but not this one. I really wish I could find it.

EDIT: I might review 'Unquestionable Presence' tonight, just so all of the Atheist albums are done.This Message Edited On 05.16.05

Dancin' Man
May 16th 2005


719 Comments


Br3ad, do you have AIM? since our Slsk's aren't compatible, maybe AIM is the way to go. Needless to say, I love this album. I prefer Unquestionable Presence though.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
May 17th 2005


2125 Comments


I don't have it, sorry. I may get it soon, but it might be a bit of a mission for me. I assume you don't have MSN?

Ad Absurdum
May 17th 2005


44 Comments


I can hook you up if you want, I've got all their albums (AIM - biaxident657)

Bartender
Emeritus
May 17th 2005


826 Comments


Good review, and a great album.

As for all the Atheist albums being reviewed..I wonder what happened to manuscript's Unquestionable Presence review.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
May 17th 2005


2125 Comments


[QUOTE=Bartender]As for all the Atheist albums being reviewed..I wonder what happened to manuscript's Unquestionable Presence review.[/QUOTE]

Most of his didn't get ported over to sputnik. When I asked him to port his Candlemass review over, he said he "cbf". :p

blueyxd
November 29th 2005


77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had a few songs off this for a while, but just recently I got the rest of it. Though I still prefer Elements for the technicality, Piece Of Time is becoming one of my favourite heavy albums. I don't know how I can like these two so much, but not like U.P. all that much.

The older demo songs that come with the re-release of PoT are pretty good too. The recording is pretty raw, but the sound is so gutsy. I'd recommend them to everyone who likes Atheist give them a listen.

Kingofdudes
November 29th 2005


294 Comments


Good review.

I like the demos on the re-release of UP. I still need to pick this and Elements up.

Stoic
December 24th 2005


161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's sweet how you described all these little details :D

Anyway, as far as technicality is concerned, I dont find this as mind blowing as Unquestionable Presence. I do find it slightly catchier, lot thrashier and more relaxed compared to Unquestionable Presence which was far more sophisticated.

Thuathail
March 30th 2006


17 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album. Atheist only released 3 albums, but each one had more heart and greatness than a lot of other metal bands can put out in 12.

FR33L0RD
April 2nd 2007


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Amazing Technical Death Metal

Lunarfall
October 2nd 2007


3179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wasn't as good as expected, but still a great album. So far ahead of its time, it's amazing that it came out in the 80s.

Slaytan
May 13th 2008


1186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing Technical Death Metal

I wouldn't call this tech death, but it is fairly amazing.

Bleak123
October 7th 2008


1902 Comments


I think I actually marginally prefer this to Unquestionable Presence.

Bleak123
October 7th 2008


1902 Comments


In fact, screw marginally. I way prefer it, this is as close to me giving this as a 5 without me actually doing so as an album can get I think.

Bleak123
October 7th 2008


1902 Comments


Once again, screw that ...I've given in. Big ol' 5 baby!

Lunarfall
October 7th 2008


3179 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I prefer Elements actually. This is my least favorite.

Bleak123
October 7th 2008


1902 Comments


This is much more powerful than Elements for me.

Willie
Moderator
October 7th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer Elements actually. This is my least favorite
Really? I always thought Elements was pretty weak.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era



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