This was a surprise to see. I'm listening to their demo right now.
I'm a sucker for Steve Flynn, and I've been dying to hear some new drum work from him. He doesn't disappoint (to wit: he's still got those timekeeping slips inherent to his playing when he's busy overextending himself in fills that I find so truly delicious in his drumming style), but unfortunately, the musical framework is utterly one-dimensional.
The music is almost embarrassingly worshipful of Atheist, at least as far as the conceptual theory underlying it is concerned. However, they've missed the fundamentally esoteric application of that theory which lends such timelessness to Atheist; say what you will about such a loaded term as "populist" being utilized in musical review, but this is merely music written to "sound good" from a quasi-prog perspective. You can hear how much this band really wants to sound like their forefathers, and this affected "mature" posture comes through blatantly in the individual performances. That bassist has nothing on Roger Patterson, and most likely never will. Strike out on your own, son - you'll like the results so much more.
Not only this, but in its quest to be "like Mike" it's all over the friggin map structurally, with Stevie boy sounding like he's doing everything he can to hold the ship together at the seams. Or is it the other way around? - it's tough to tell who's got the reins in this band, and that doesn't translate well in the finished product. "Be reasonable Blaph - it is their first demo, after all!!" Fuck off; learn to walk before you can run. There are plenty of other far-more-talented masturbators to pick and choose from if you want to listen to prog. go find them, and leave this irrelevancy on the shelf.
I guess this brings up a point that runs through every note of the composition: the inherent pointlessness of it all. We've already heard these same songs from the same bands for fifteen fucking years now. Was this album needed? Is there any reason to purchase it, beyond wanting to hear what Steve Flynn and the simpletons he shanghaied into starting a band are doing these days to dispell the tedium of their boring working class existences? If you answer in the affirmative, maybe it says something about your own necessity to the world at large.
Consume, consume, consume.