Monday, 30 July 2012

ATHEIST - Jupiter (2010)

01  Second To Sun
02  Fictitious Glide
03  Fraudulent Cloth
04  Live And Live Again
05  Faux King Christ
06  Tortoise The Titan
07  When The Beast
08  Third Person

Jupiter is the name of the fourth studio album by the American technical death metal band Atheist, released on November 8th 2010. It was their first studio album in 17 years since the release of 'Elements' in 1993. 'Jupiter' was issued through the Season Of Mist label.

Stylistically, the album has more in common with 1991’s genre landmark 'Unquestionable Presence' than the more traditional thrash-focused origins of Atheist’s On They Slay demo or 1989 debut, 'Piece of Time'. Jupiter possesses more complex riffing, crazed drumming and frenzied song structures than you can shake a stick at, while also gluing everything together with a surprising cohesion and flow. With that said, Jupiter is very obviously not 'Unquestionable Presence', and rightfully so. Jupiter has an aesthetic that is just as interesting and unique as 'Unquestionable Presence'. Jupiter seems to be an attempt to take modern tech death and fuse it to the Atheist style. You'll find intense and blistering speed that is the hallmark of the modern sound, but you'll also find amazing slow passages that are still technical as hell. There are a bazillion riffs - but unlike the modern sound, they're actually distinguishable from one another and Kelly Schaefer sounds completely unlike the endless production line of modern generic grunters.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the strongest tracks here, since most of them share more or less the same level of quality. Personal favorites include the cleverly titled and amazingly performed “Faux King Christ” with it’s spiraling melodies and jazzy conga-like percussion, “Fictitious Glide” with it’s liquid-guitar soloing replaced within a fraction of a second into speed-of-light riffing thrash, and “When the Beast” which starts with black metal-ish atmospheric riffs that evolve into a full prog metal attack with excellent lyrics vomited through Shaefer’s throat.

Jupiter is phenomenal from head-to-toe. Although the music is extremely technical, the band has honed enough compositional skills to not alienate the casual listener. Often enough modern bands tech out amazingly, leaving fellow musicians blushing but sometimes leaving the casual listener hung out to dry. There aren’t many flaws except for a smaller bass presence than in the past and a "clipped" mixing job. Atheist returned triumphantly and have delivered another metal masterpiece. According to Kelly Schaefer, album number five isn't far off either...

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