Monday, February 2, 2009

Atheist - Unquestionable Presence

10/10

Unfortunately for the band, bassist Roger Patterson died in an car accident before the band's sophomore effort began recording. (What is it with metal bassists and dying in automotive accidents? There's him, Metallica's Cliff Burton, and... okay, that was it.) He was replaced by Tony Choy, who uses a "slap bass" technique that's pretty unusual in metal. If you're not familiar with this term, imagine the incidental music from Seinfeld and you've got a pretty good idea of what it sounds like. This one gets the 10 mostly because I really like that bass sound; I feel that all other aspects of this album and Piece of Time are pretty much equal, but the bass puts Unquestionable Presence over the top.
If anyone thinks that death metal is just screaming, loud guitars and cartoonishly gory lyrics, play this for them. This is cerebral music, and you'll miss much of the impact if you just put it on in the background; you have to pay very close attention. My only complaint is that just like the debut, it's just too short.

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