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Atheist - Elements CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 255 ratings

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5 stars Elements is the third full-length studio album by American technical/ progressive death metal act Atheist. Elements is a great Atheist album and a natural successor to its predecessor Unquestionable Presence (1991). Not in the sense that Elements sounds like Unquestionable Presence because they are very different albums both in regard to composition and sound.

Drummer Steve Flynn left and a new session drummer (Josh Greenbaum) plays on this album, he is a much more "loose drummer" and the precision play of Flynn is replaced by more groove ( Almost samba/ bossa at times). A third guitarist was also added ( Frank Emmi) as they must have realised that Kelly Schafer couldn´t possibly both sing and play these complex parts live. It works well with the three guitarists on record too though, and many parts are enhanced a lot by the third guitar. Tony Choy still plays the impossible bass parts and the only two founding members Kelly Shaefer and Randy Burkey are there too. Randy Burkey playing some of his most inspired soloes on this one.

The production is quite odd and it overloads several times especially on the voice. I find this to be a minor problem I have learned to live with through the years. The music is so fantastic you just have to. Mark Pinske is the producer on this album and I´m not sure about this, but is he the same man working with Zappa on the Them or Us (1984) album ? Well never the less he also produced Malevolent Creation´s Stillborn (1993) album and it sounds exactly like Elements. Either you like it for the originality in the sound or you´ll probably hate it and think it sounds amatourish.

The production aside the music is fantastic. A mix of various genres. I´ve always felt a strong latin touch to their music on this album and it´s not just because of the song Samba Briza which is pure latin music, but also on songs like Water and Air. The lyrics are about the four elements, and pretty interesting if you´re not only into the death and mayhem part of heavy metal. Atheist were always the hippies of Death Metal lyrically and continue to be on Elements. Look in the sleeve notes where they praise Weed as their prime source of inspiration.

This was unfortunately the last album by Atheist, and maybe that was allright. Three fantastic albums are quite a good testimony.

Elements is just as essential as Unquestionable Presence, even though the two albums are very different from each other. I can´t think of many other albums I would give 5 stars before this one. A true masterpiece in its genre.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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