|Jazz, Progressive Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Season of Mist Records
November 8th, 2010
Release length: 32:47
The premise of the album isn’t too far from the original material the band recorded. Musically, it has a strong Death Metal presence that is greatly amplified with a heavy Thrash attitude thanks to fast paced riffs and a vocal style that sounds like a more higher pitched rhaspy style. The only issue that some who listen to mainstream media, voluntarily or not, may have with this is that it sounds a bit like a higher pitched vocal style similar to that of Mudvayne, and it’s just a little hard to shake regardless of who started to do it first, but it doesn’t dampen the enjoyment of the album. While Atheist is known for various reasons, two of the more obvious reasons stem from the band’s inclusion of Jazz influences, as well as being a very technical group. While the band still remains highly technical in their musicianship, such as with the track “Faux King Christ”, there’s not that much Jazz incorporated into the mix, and when it is, it’s so well done that half the time you wouldn’t even know it’s in there. Again, the track “Faux King Christ” showcases some of that band’s ability nicely, incorporating a little freeform in the highly technical riffs that helps to give the song a structure, though there really doesn’t seem to be much of one outside the simply lyrical chorus of the song name being repetead.
Outside of “Faux King Christ” another one of the more noticable Jazz moments would appear in “When the Beast”, about half way, which finds the vocals doing a bit of a skat vocal style that is often associated with Jazz, and it works out well with the song without really violating the overall flow. These signs really show the group’s ability to blend the styles in nicely without abruptly jumping between each like many bands who show Progressive signs or roots would be so accustomed to doing. This alone makes the release really stand out, and show that this group hasn’t lost their edge, but it’s also the fact that this is a highly impressive technical album too. Each song has fantastic guitar work and drumming associated with it that, often, will leave the listener with their mouths wide open in awe. While much of the album’s music is highly complex and technical, there are plenty of catchy, more melodic moments on the album, and they typically pop up throughout on each song, sometimes during a guitar solo, such as in “Ficticious Glide”, or like in “Third Person”, it kick starts the song nicely before, after a moment of slowed pace, slamming right back into some heavy technical music. The real nice touch to this song is the podded up bass that hits about a minute and a half in, though it does come out of nowhere, as well as the fact that this is the only song that genuinely goes into a traditional Jazz sound, and switches from the established Death/Thrash sound to cut to the Jazz bridge, though it’s not as abrupt as some would assume.
There is no denying that this album’s stronger material here is the overly technical Thrash elements that really find the band moving as a much faster pace. These songs really showcase the band’s ability to mix all the material together so well. The slower songs on here manage to pull off the same effect to certain degrees, since sometimes the guitars move a little slower, making the complexities of the album seem a little less impressive, which does hinder some of the songs on here. However, there are still plenty of great songs that don’t necessarily seem focused on speed. “Fraudulent Cloth” is one of these songs, thanks mostly due to the drumming keeping a more traditional slower Thrash pace, while the guitars remain fast paced and technical. At firstl, these two elements clash together, but after a few moments with the song, it works out well and creates a highly addictive sound, but the problem is that it simply doesn’t hold the same kick that some of the faster tracks on this release have, though it retains enough of a bite to keep the listener hooked. Luckily, this doesn’t affect Live and Live Again”, which is a very strong song that features enough hard hitting musical chaos mixed together with an Egyptian-sounding chorus, thanks to the music, as well as the vocal distortion, and an overall highly energetic performance that just hammers at the listener for much of the song.
Jupiter has it’s ups and downs, but mostly ups. Atheist mark their strong return with this release, as if marking their territory over all bands that bring technicality, or even Jazz, into their music, and after one spin through this release, it’s a very dominant proclamation on their part that really does stand up well. With this single proclamation of metal dominance, releases by today’s more well acknowledged, as well as legendary, technical groups such as Cryptopsy and Origin, are pretty much put to shame with this widely diverse, yet hard hitting album. There’s no denying that Atheist are back with full force on this release, and while the album does have some moments that aren’t quite as energetic or hard hitting as it could be, Jupier still packs enough killer metal that will leave the listener in awe from start to finish, and has a fantastic replay value to it, especially for the band’s veteran fans.
01. Second to Sun – 4:04
02. Fictitous Glide – 4:53
03. Frudulent Cloth – 3:24
04. Live and Live Again – 3:39
05. Faux King Christ – 4:02
06. Tortoise the Titan – 3:40
07. When the Beast – 4:57
08. Third Person – 4:08
|Overall Score: 8.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.