Atheist - Piece Of Time

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Relapse
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

[Jan-Mikael reviwed all three Athiest titles in one review; they are listed separately in database -ed]


Finally Relapse Records has provided metal fans with a reissue series that truly provides a package that speaks to the fans, encapsulates a historical band's entire output without compromise, and delivers value for money!

For years, CDs of Atheist's original releases have commanded exorbitant prices on the used market, particularly on eBay. In order to possess a copy of Elements, for example, one would have had to send upwards of $40 to some unknown mercenary, hoping and praying that the disc would actually arrive, let alone be in a playable state. It is a measure of the worth of this band that countless fans did just that!


These reissues are superb.

There will be contention amongst the cognoscenti concerning the worth of the remixes. As a musician and recording enthusiast, I can assure you that there is a difference between the old versions and the new. Huge? No. Audible? Yes. Better? I think so. The bonus material doubles the value of each of these discs without a doubt. Piece Of Time boasts 9 additional tracks, covering the period from Atheist's inception as R.A.V.A.G.E to their infamous Beyond demo. Unquestionable? also fronts 9 bonus tracks, 7 of which include pre-production demos of material featuring Roger Patterson, their original bassist (tragically killed in a tour bus accident prior to the recording). Elements offers perhaps the most auspicious new material, a live radio broadcast from 1992 showcasing material from Unquestionable?, ably demonstrating that Atheist were a superb live act, and vaunting the fact that in pre-Protools 1992, bands were actually performing their material live in the studio?

Each disc boasts revised liner notes, never-before-seen photos and stream of consciousness reminisces by front-man and guitarist Kelly Shaefer ? jocular and contemplative, Shaefer's comments legitimize the package, lifting it above a corporate money-grab and genuinely providing a glimpse into the past of this historically significant and sadly under-rated band.

Technical, harmonically daring and rhythmically challenging, Atheist sounded like no other band when they arrived on a burgeoning Florida metal scene in the late 80s.

Atheist has been often tagged as "jazz-metal," a misnomer according to Kelly Shaefer, whom I had the good fortune to interview recently. He cited Cynic and Watchtower as oft-used comparisons, but proceeded to clarify these comparisons, elucidating concerning the "jazz-metal" tag.

He described Atheist's approach to songwriting as jazz-influenced, particularly in their approach to orchestrating the bass and guitars in order to avoid reliance on unison writing and lockstep rhythmic devices. Parts were arranged using counterpoint, contrariwise motion and other techniques derived from jazz and other forms of music the band was listening to at the time.

Atheist's music was brutal, intricate, lyrically advanced compared to other bands of the day, and most importantly, genuine. These reissues highlight these aspects and eloquently restate Atheist's relevance today.


5 /5. The plus is for Relapse Records decision to keep the prices modest, and for allowing the reissues to be produced unfettered.


Long overdue, the Atheist reissues remind the listener of what thinking man's metal is all about, and update a chapter of the history of metal that has long remained obscure.

When I spoke to Kelly Shaefer about these reissues, he was enthusiastic about reintroducing Atheist's music to a new generation of fans, stating that when the records first came out, "nobody got it" but that he thought that the time was right for their release.

Now, about the reunion?.

Piece Of Time originally released in 1989

Piece of Time / Unholy War / Room With A View / On They Slay / Beyond / I Deny / Why Bother / Life / No Truth / Bonus Tracks: Beyond (demo) / Hell Hath No Mercy (demo) / R.A.V.A.G.E. (demo)

Kelly Shaefer - vocals, guitars
Rand Burkey - guitars
Roger Patterson - bass
Steve Flynn - drums

Piece Of Time (1989/2005)
Unquestionable Presence (1991/2005)
Elements (1993/2005)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: October 30th 2005
Reviewer: Jan-Mikael Erakare
Artist website:
Hits: 1226
Language: english


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