Unquestionable Presence



by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
May 19th, 2006 | 6 replies

Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Me being a big fan of Elements, I was a bit surprised to hear this. I was expecting the same thing but that’s not what I got. I expected a lot of jazz parts but this was more death metal than jazz. I could certainly pick out a lot of difference between this and Elements. One thing was the production, Elements was quite clear and well produced but this was typical death metal production. It was certainly quite tinny (especially for a band which have such a great bassist) and the production wasn’t the best I’ve heard. The guitars played a bigger role using lots more riffs than Elements, which was also a surprise to me. Elements was more concentrated on Tony’s remarkable bass lines.

Kelly was a bit different to me from all the other death metal vocalists. Other death metal bands had a growl or a grunt. Kelly sounds more like the underground thrash vocalists from the eighties. His voice is rough but not enough to be a growl. He also has a deep voice and doesn’t sing his vocals but it is usually deep and raspy. Rand is not a fast player at all but he does have a fair amount of talent. He has some weird, fascinating riffs and they’re usually all over the place because of the strange time signatures Atheist use. His solos are quite neat and he uses them at appropriate times rather than putting them in to show off, a good all-round guitarist.

I would make it a law that if you say a bad word about this man then you shall serve a life sentence. In my opinion, he is the biggest part of Atheist. He has this incredible slap bass style and he shines even more so than the guitarist. His bass lines stick out the most in the mix and with good reason. His playing is pretty creative and he is probably one of the most technical bassists on the scene. The style he uses is a sort of jazzy slap technique

Steve is a great accommodation to Tony as they both use their jazz influences, Steve even more so than Tony. Steve uses a metal style and a jazz style in the same song. Steve doesn’t blast beat like normal death metal bands though. With his metal style he obviously uses the double bass and fast fills while he can also do crazy time signature beats with a jazzy touch. Great drummer and he certainly fit the band.

Unquestionable Presence is not a long, epic album. It is only eight songs with over 30 minutes of music. If it was any longer then I couldn’t listen to this since the songs never really drastically change. There is quite a lot of variance but it never really goes out that jazz death metal feel. Every track on here is essential and you can never really miss one out, as there are only seven tracks. It is brutal in a casual sense but within the death metal quarters, it isn’t that head exploding. I also feel you have to be in a certain mood to listen to it. Sometimes when I listen to it I go, “Yuss! The bass is so sexy and look at Steve go on those drums!” and other times I go, “oh yeah, a slap bass solo, oh, another weird time signature” and I act as if I’m half asleep. The first one is what gives this a high rating as you really do get an adrenaline feeling of it.

The tempo can vary a lot. There is a fast burst of energy at times and then it could just slow down to where a guitar chord could just ring out and the bass could do some slow mellow part. It’s quite astonishing. The instruments just play so well together and it’s a great experience especially when the instruments work with each other. The bass could do some solo parts while the guitar plays simple chords and then the bass would play simple and the guitar would do a fast riff. The beauty of the jazz influence is when Tony and Steve go balls out. Steve would play this fast jazz beat while Tony would slap the strings off his bass. I honestly don’t have many problems with the album but the thing about certain times pisses me off and that the songs don’t go out the genre they’re in. Also, why jazz" It would be out of this world if they tried a blues oriented song or even a folk or country. It is nice that a death metal band likes to use their other influences but the jazz thing does get a bit boring after a while.

Overall, Atheist are a creative and interesting band. They are original and they aren’t afraid to use other influences, which I think is pretty admirable. I do find them to get boring but that doesn’t distract from the times that I need to listen to them. What you’ll find here is fast jazz drumming and some of the best bass lines I have ever heard. The guitars are heavy and don’t fall into a lame “chugga-chugga” state. The vocals are full of sneers. They are growls but not like any other death metal band. Atheist are original and that is their main ploy, they incorporate lots of stuff in their music and that makes them such a great band.

Mother Man starts off with a slow bass part and then it just goes all chaos. The guitars are mainly used on the upper register on the song while the drumming keeps to its jazz roots. It is quite a fast paced song and it is a damn fine opener. Near the end it just stops and mellows out. It is a total change from the song but it then progresses to get heavier and heavier with a nice guitar solo.

With this Your Life's Retribution, there is no “intro” or beginning part. It just blasts in with Kelly shouting, “your life’s retribution!” It is not particularly fast but it has its fast bursts. I really liked the guitar in this song and the way they put it out. It has a sweet finger tap solo (or at least, I think it’s a finger tap solo) but straight after that, the direction changes again so it’s faster and then another guitar solo. The song barely has vocals as most of the song is made up of guitar solos and the music.

Recent reviews by this author
Pink Reason Cleaning the MirrorThinking Fellers Local 282 Lovelyville
Primal Scream Beautiful FutureCan Future Days
King Crimson DisciplineWilliam Basinski Melancholia
user ratings (1494)
other reviews of this album
br3ad_man EMERITUS (4.5)

myhigherpie (5)
Boldly experimental and uncompromisingly esoteric, Atheist's breakthrough album is a testament to te...

related reviews

Piece of Time


recommended by reviewer
Atheist Elements

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 19th 2006


This was my try at something new, hoped you liked it.

EDIT: Actually, do you think it'll look better without a format?This Message Edited On 05.19.06

May 19th 2006


tis good, but not as good as you're old style, give it a few tweaks, you'll be golden

May 19th 2006


I edited out the format, for some reason it wouldn't let certain parts stay in the middle.

May 19th 2006


Word to the wise, never attempt to fall asleep to this album. :lol:

I can't listen to this. It's unbelievably spastic, and the production of the album pisses me off to no end. I'm well aware that the band shines technically, but I find it a bit too crazy for my liking...

May 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing album. Had never heard atheist until a month or so ago, when I bought this.

I probably listened to it 30-40 times while on that Vacation.

May 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album. It is by far the best of Atheist.

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


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 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy