Atheist
Jupiter


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
November 1st, 2010 | 361 replies | 46,556 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Angry, concise and frenetic as ever, Atheist return with what Elements should have been.

For most, Elements is the one Atheist album that's never sat right. Kelly Shaefer himself calls it the band's 'red headed step-child'. There's a reason for this: for the first time, the songs weren't as written by Shaefer, Flynn and Patterson. With two key songwriters taken out of the pot, Elements was bound to taste a little different. Jupiter isn't quite a full-fledged return to form, but fuck if it isn't close. It brings Steve Flynn back into the mix, and with Tony Choy out of the picture, Jonathan Thompson does a more than admirable job on the bass (oh, and he plays guitar, too), blending Roger Patterson's attack with Choy's intricacy. Jupiter isn't just a return to a scene they helped create, but also a revisiting of the band at its most relentless. Blending Piece of Time's aggressiveness with Unquestionable Presence's frenetic energy, Jupiter is an album whose sound sits somewhere in the middle. It doesn't compare to the quality of either but that's forgivable, given that so few albums can.

A real sign of Jupiter's success is how it manages to sound exactly like an Atheist album should, something that's probably harder than you'd think after such an extended leave of absence. Throwing much of the noodling and extended dynamics found on Elements to the wayside, Jupiter is 40 minutes of all but incessant relentlessness. Were it any longer, the all out attack would probably grow tiresome, but with such a short run-time, it's tailor made for a quick run-through. Doing so, you'll probably notice that amidst Flynn's disjointed-but-precise drum work and Shaefer's dry, pissed off delivery there are a few new dynamics this time around. From the spiralling grooves in “Second to Sun” and the tremolo picked down-winding intro of “Fictitious Glide” down to the twisting rhythms of “When the Beast” there are pinches of modernity strewn throughout the band's decidedly old school brand of tech death. You could even make the argument that the opening moments of “Third Person” are unabashedly uplifting and, dare I say eerily reminiscent of power metal; of course, the song quickly transitions into yet another atonal, spiralling circle of technicality and anger.

Really, the album's biggest flaws are its strengths. Though it may be their first album in 17 years, it sounds like one that could have easily come out between Unquestionable Presence and Elements. It's not dated by any means, but it insists on being so familiar that when paired with its modest run-time, Jupiter does threaten to blur by to the unconscious listener. As far as their trademark technicality goes, Jupiter doesn't disappoint. Far from being an all out shred-fest of tech-death's dick-measuring contemporaries, the Floridian four-piece still find ways to test their limits, doing so with their unique penchant for throwing structures and syncopation into a blender without having the music sound like total ass. For the first time in the band's four album career, Kelly Shaefer's contributions are almost exclusively vocal and lyrical. While Shaefer did write much of the album's guitar-work, and his influence is immediately noticeable, he only played on one track, sharing soloing duties with Jason Suecof on “Faux King Christ”. Because Jupiter was written with the idea of Shaefer performing exclusively as a vocalist, his vocals are more noticeable than ever. For those not sold on his unique delivery, this could cause problems. Of course he's still Kelly Shaefer, and his voice, while perhaps a little worse for wear, is just as it always was. If you liked it on Piece of Time, you'll be fine with it now. More polarizing might be the lyrics themselves. Perhaps the only remnant from Elements, Shaefer's views on spirituality (and near-obsession with the Sun) and the occasional stabs at organized religions (like the juvenility of “Faux King Christ”), mean his lyrics are far from a sure-thing. Then again, I'm not sure anybody listens to Atheist for the lyrics. Or the vocals, really.

Far from being Tech-Death Magnetic, Jupiter does play a little clipped at time, something that can perhaps be charged as much on mixer Jason Suecof as it can the band's treble-heavy sound. And Suecof is quickly forgiven; as is his trademark, he steps into the booth to lay down a few guest solos, like the trade-offs he does with Shaefer on “Faux King Christ” and the solo in “Fictitious Glide”.

In the end, Jupiter hits more marks than it misses, and no matter how you look at it, it's hard to argue with a new Atheist album. Especially one that sounds as natural as Jupiter.



Recent reviews by this author
Masked Intruder Masked IntruderAeon Path of Fire
Adam Haworth Stephens We Live on CliffsAutopsy The Tomb Within
Orbs Asleep Next to ScienceJustin Townes Earle Harlem River Blues
user ratings (408)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
frenchy12340
November 1st 2010



23 Comments


i have never listened to Atheist before honestly, but this review makes me want to check them out!

great job man

FadeToBlack
November 1st 2010



10913 Comments


awesome review, really excited for this

Thor
November 1st 2010



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought that Kelly said that Tony Choy never really wrote anything with Atheist in his departure statement (even on Elements)

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

Tyler
Emeritus
November 1st 2010



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not going to be as big of a revelation as Traced in Air, which kind of expanded on Cynic's sound, but it's so nice to have a new Atheist album, especially one back that goes back to their more aggressive roots.

I thought that Kelly said that Tony Choy never really wrote anything with Atheist in his departure statement (even on Elements)

He wrote stuff on Elements, but Unquestionable Presence was basically Choy playing Patterson's parts. I asked him about this stuff in the interview, hopefully I can have it transcribed in the next day or two.

Thor
November 1st 2010



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I went back and re-read that statement, and yeah apparently Choy didn't write a single part off of
Unquestionable Presence

But I'm happy Thompson's filling in the shoes. I saw both Gnostic and Atheist at the same show last
year where he played bass and guitar for both bands, respectively. Dude's got incredible chops,
especially for his age.

Tyler
Emeritus
November 1st 2010



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry Kit, mix-up on my part. I keep writing Robertson instead of Patterson. Patterson is the one who died in the car crash, who wrote the parts on Unquestionable and played on Piece of Time. Thompson is the guy from Gnostic who plays bass and guitar on Jupiter.

Thor
November 1st 2010



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha yeah it's all good, I mixed it up too. I wish I could find a leak somewhere ugh

Inveigh
November 1st 2010



24182 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty damn excited to hear this

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 1st 2010



10553 Comments


Sounds interesting indeed

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

Ichigo900
November 1st 2010



67 Comments


Wait, so this album has been released already? I need to get this!

Tyler
Emeritus
November 1st 2010



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It hasn't been released yet.

Emim
November 1st 2010



26195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome

Sound
November 1st 2010



3838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Elements is great. But good to hear that this might be even better! Great review also.



Willie
Moderator
November 1st 2010



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It has taken me awhile to not just treat this like a Gnostic sophomore release, and now I have to say that it's really fucking good.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

eggsvonsatan
November 1st 2010



1087 Comments


WRONG! Because 'Elements' was awesome!

FadeToBlack
November 1st 2010



10913 Comments


except it was far from awesome

Tyler
Emeritus
November 1st 2010



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The question isn't whether or not it was awesome, it's whether or not it felt like an Atheist album.

Comatorium.
November 1st 2010



4007 Comments


It felt like atheist playing way too much jazz....

Some might say needz moar metuhl.

I say it was bad-fuckin-ass.

I also loathe you for having this.

iPim
November 1st 2010



331 Comments


YESYESYES, a positive review for this, I cannot wait!

Thor
November 1st 2010



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Elements was cool but it would have sucked if Atheist kept going in that direction.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy