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The Best Techical Death Metal Album Ever? - 100%

__Ziltoid__, June 3rd, 2010

Atheist is probably my favorite of the Florida death metal bands, and rightfully so. They created three unique albums, all of which completely redefined the idea of progressive and technical death metal. Even in the thrashier days of their first album, Piece of Time, Atheist still carved out an album’s worth highly progressive material, which was almost unknown in the thrash scene with the exception of a few bands. With their last album, Elements, Atheist created an oddly eccentric mix of death metal that had its progressive influences completely in the limelight (arguably, the progressiveness was much more present than the death metal). With no implementation of supposed death metal staples, such as double bass drumming and blast beats, Elements was Atheist’s last mark on the death metal scene, but they proved that a band can go way outside of genre norms and still create an album that is far better than those by contemporaries who stick to conventional techniques. But even with two very impressive albums that would be high points for most bands, Atheist created an even better album–Unquestionable Presence.

Simply put, this is exactly how technical death metal should be played. There are so many shitty bands out there today that play **weedily weedily** crap, such as Obscura with their recent album Cosmogenesis being one of the most glaring examples, that just simply cannot write a technical death metal album like this. They focus on playing as many notes as possible as quickly as possible, and that is their ultimate pitfall.

On Unquestionable Presence, Atheist demonstrates that technical death metal is instead meant to be created in a very organic manner, with riffs going at a natural speed, getting their fair share of attention instead of being overshadowed by the “crazy fast” solos that the modern tech-death bands love to play so much. With that in mind, the guitar solos on this album are of the highest quality, while also being emotive, instead of lifeless like most modern tech-death solos.

The drums are incredibly technical on the surface, but a more attentive listener can easily hear all of the amazing subtleties that actually implemented, whether it be an odd hit, or just an amazingly diverse set of rhythms played in a short period of time (“An Incarnation’s Dream” is a great example of this), all of which flow perfectly into each other. This is not the blastbeat-laden crap that plagues modern day tech-death. Blastbeats are a hindrance to creativity and severely limit the potential of the drummer. Here, Atheist fully utilizes the great drumming ability of Steve Flynn to craft memorable rhythms.

Of course, the basslines, written by the late Roger Patterson and played by the equally great Tony Choy are amazing. Instead of just following the rhythm guitar, they are the true backbone of Atheist’s sound and they get their opportunity to shine on many occasions throughout the album (great examples of this are “Mother Man,” “Brains,” and “And The Psychic Saw”). Kelly Shaefer is simply at his best here, providing fierce, yet comprehensible vocals that compliment everything else excellently.

Every track here is a standout, so just listen to the whole damn album, because this is simply the best technical death metal album ever made.

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