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Atheist - Piece of Time
Review: Putting to work the harmonic theories of jazz within the context of metal structure as expressed in rhythm and phrasing shape with a relative centralism of tone, Atheist render an epic of vast technicality and maturity but more so: they inject a poise of artistic intensity and a value to communication which matches their concept in rejecting established value in favor of immanent values derived from a value in life and nature, as their lyrics reveal.
Pure in its sheen of metal riffing textures etching shapes in circuit boards of time meted out by evenly-paced but well interbalanced drumming and a use of rhythmic expectancy in intelligent breakdown variations of the obvious interruptions, Atheist indulge jazz theory in their soloing, rhythmic and structural tendencies, allowing wandering melody to converge suddenly back into theme in the style of metal but simultaneously building it in harmony and counterpoint theme internal to motif, using flexible chord voicings and a tension of pocket drumming to power their work. Similar to jazz, harmony defines the space in which structure moves, yet a metallic voice reaches out in tendrils of riff shape alluding to structural synchronization more than ambient tonal symmetry. Threads of instrumentation as in progressive rock are joined by thematic evolution to coincidence of structure, metalizing the tendencies of rock/jazz that minimize narrative power.
Based loosely in speed metal through song structure and rhythmic aesthetic as fused to the larger sense of tempo in song, and fueled by unrelenting speed and precise high-speed double-strumming creating various textures to melody, Atheist form the bulk of their songwriting from intricate lead riffing or precise power and open chording. Grand statements relevant to song are made without becoming lost in projected emotion, as swarming allusions throughout each song fuse in pharses of balance to origin. Violent but varying in that dynamic, and expressing itself metaphorically through mood changes adapted to the inspiration of each song, this music is recognizably progressive without having the slavery to proven form of most jazz/metal mainstream hybrids.
Crashing through interlude and recession before rising again in a maelstrom of energy the arching passages of longer phrases and code fragments in budget riffs communicate a resurgent life inherent to logic favored over superstition. In this and in its sense of musicality and value sought through the chaos of artistic development, the voice of art present to "Piece of Time" contemplates maturely a history of metal and summarizes it, with the same passion that birthed the genre, in an intensity of multiple directions at once fusing to one.
Demo tracks included on this release show two styles becoming one: a raw death metal intent and a sense of epic riffing and powerful articulation in the speed metal style, with the barest hints of the coming style in the proficiency and creativity of these songs in structure and riff.