Sunday, 4 September 2016

Atheist "Piece Of Time" (1989)


After reconnecting with this band of old I picked out their debut record to listen to next. Released in 89 it stands firmly with an "ahead of its time" label, although the album itself was recorded almost a year earlier in late 88. Fascinating stuff however this record doesn't translate to enjoyment at quite the same ferocity as its follow up "Unquestionable Presence" does. Putting a finger on why has been tough, it makes me ponder the impressions that other works can leave on records that are new to you. These records in one sense are two of the same breed however perhaps a seasoned maturity and flirtation with non metallic styles gives its predecessor an edge. Even then we are splitting hairs, "Piece Of Time" is a brilliant Death/Thrash Metal record, one well ahead of the crowd and worthy of praise.

Many of the remarks I could make about this one are similar to the article I wrote before so I will focus on the difference between the two and I believe it comes down to the production and tone of this record. Its still an impressive recording for the time but it feels a little less inviting, somewhere in the low to mid range is somewhat hollow and the guitars find themselves squeezed into a narrower range, leaving them rather visceral and sharp. It changes the albums complexion and the tone is rawer, a bit unchained and as a result I find it a little less comforting to sink into. The ears adjust but its always got a bit of unsettling venom about it.

With that sharper edge the music sticks to a much firmer aggressive state between the Death and Thrash with no musical breaks or odd time signatures, apart from the short album opener mixing light synths with the sounds of crashing waves and a symphonic piece for the final track. The riffs steer to a darker, aggressive posture and the groove element is toned down, many riffs feel like they are just a step away from some much needed bounce but given the overall theme that's not what the records looking for. Its another onslaught of short songs rapidly going through the motions with inspired musical ideas that culminate many fun and memorable riffs. The bass guitar holds back in comparison however the drums are as equally involved and wild through the albums course. A classic, however I find the follow up ticks more boxes for me personally.

Favorite Tracks: Room With A View, I Deny,
Rating: 8/10

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