Cult progressive/technical death metal band, ATHEIST, have been mentioned in the same breath as CYNIC, though ATHEIST were always the more aggressive band, and light years ahead with their early albums, Piece of Time and Unquestionable Presence. The following experimental Elements album was unique in its own way, but it was a strange time for the band as it lacked the metal touch and cohesive unit as a whole. After a seven year drought, new album Jupiter squashes all notions of experimentation, and lays down the metal foundation as one of the best albums this year.
Older ATHEIST fans may be worried that the band may never recover from the style change that occurred with Elements, but the opening riffs for “Second to Sun” quickly dispel those thoughts. The solos are reminiscent of the ones found from Unquestionable Presence along with Piece of Time riffs. Kelly Shaefer’s vocals sound the same as previous efforts, and Steve Flynn’s drumming is top notch, with disgustingly technical fills and cymbal crashes. The bass is audible and well played by guitarist Jonathan Thompson, and he negates the fact that bass legend Tony Choy decided not to be involved with the album. “Fictitious Glide” presents some interesting song structure and complex timing, along with an aggressive feel with plenty of crunchy palm muting.
The jazz/progressive drumming really comes alive on “Fraudulent Cloth,” and takes several listens to appreciate the handiwork of Flynn’s drumming. The catchiest chorus on the album is delivered on “Live, and Live Again,” and don’t be surprised if you start to sing along. Jupiter continues to attack as your auditory senses face overload with amazing melodies, technical riffs, and mind bending drumming on intense tracks like “Faux King Christ” and “When the Beast.” With the songs ranging in the 3-4 minute mark, the album comes at the listener hard, fast, and requires multiple listens to achieve maximum enjoyment.
Overall, the music is more aggressive than Piece of Time, which had the thunderous bass lines of Roger Patterson, but the debut was thrashier in nature. Fortunately, Jupiter is fully capable of reviving the interest of fans ATHEIST had lost during the Elements era, and also primed to gain younger fans who’s exposure to modern brutal, technical death metal goes only as far as bands like THE FACELESS. (Season of Mist)