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Atheist - Elements
Review: Trying too hard to mix mainstream-recognizable progressive jazz into their metal, Atheist make an album that is a mix between intelligently shredding metal and something like Phish, complete with the quirky randomness and other humorous self-referentiality that makes for excellent jazz but tragically poor metal. Structuralism is established and broken in favor of clever but evident detours, and heavy use of harmony for textural playing unrelated to core themes makes metal instrumentalism fit unevenly into atmosphere and motif. While all of the instrumentalism is top-notch and far more creative than, say, the average jazz fusion band, the essential spirit of metal is missing along with the focus this band once wielded.