Rating:
9.0
Atheist - Unquestionable Presence
30 August 1991


01. Mother Man
02. Unquestionable Presence
03. Retribution
04. Enthralled In Essence
05. An Incarnation's Dream
06. The Formative Years
07. Brains
08. And The Psychic Saw
09. Enthralled In Essence [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
10. The Formative Years [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
11. Unquestionable Presence [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
12. An Incarnation's Dream [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
13. Retribution [instrumental version] [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
14. Brains [instrumental version] [2005 re-release bonus] [1989/1990 pre-production demo [feat. Roger Patterson]
15. Enthralled In Essence [2005 re-release bonus]
16. Mother Man [2005 re-release bonus][1990 demo [feat. Roger Patterson]] [Drum & Bass Tracks]
17. And The Psychic Saw [2005 re-release bonus] [1990 demo [feat. Roger Patterson]] [Rhythm Tracks]


The "jazz/metal" band Atheist released their second album in 1991 entitled Unquestionable Presence. Former bassist Roger Patterson was sadly killed in a car accident. New bassist Tony Choy is a master of the bass; he adds a whole new layer to the band's sound. Choy provides down-tuned funk slapping, blindingly fast picking among other things that increase the richness of Atheist. Vocalist Kelly Shaefer returns with his shrieking growls. Many fans say that this was the last Atheist album where his death metal throaty growls were displayed.

Atheist return with a more technical album. Both Rand and Frank explore new scales with new meters and further broaden their metal/jazz switchovers. The band gets a little funky in places. This is because of the whole slapping bass that Choy brings to the table from time to time, especially on a track like "Brains" - a very progressive song. Tony Choy slaps away while Kelly grunts instead of growling. This adds attitude to his vocal deliverance over the colorful musical interchanges surrounding him. The back and forth genre swapping is realized further with opening track "Mother Man." The song skips around a bit, providing more then just a metallic listen. Kelly uses some odd vocal effects on the title track, "Unquestionable Presence." The echo-like quality of having two voices comes back on the last album.

Atheist is very heavy on this album and the dense riff-fest is apparent throughout the whole album. Every song on the album takes off into strange new directions not found much on Piece of Time. You will be asking yourself out loud "where did that come from?" The unexpectedness of each composition makes the listener want to play each song over and over again just because they sound so intriguing. Atheist finally shows what they're capable of here.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 7


Band profile: Atheist
Album: Unquestionable Presence


 


written by Horlequism | 13.06.2006


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Unholy_Emperor - 13.10.2006 at 01:23  
BRILLIANT.
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.08.2007 at 11:40  
And once again Frank Emmi doesn't play on this one, still Kelly Shaefer doing the guitar parts and vocals here.
Kap'N Korrupt - 05.08.2007 at 19:17  
Uh-huh...once again, change it around if you want...
Tod_Engel - 10.08.2007 at 12:53  
Quote:
"where did that come from?"


Totally agree with this question (from review).
Sunioj - 10.08.2007 at 13:46  
One of the most seasoned albums Ive ever heard...a must for every music fan. Im currently learning Tony Choys style, hes pretty fast and alot chord related riffs in his style which I love....
Bitter Peace - 12.08.2008 at 18:05  
Man, you're review is all messed up

Tony Choy didn't write the bass parts nor bring anything to the table. All the bass had already been written by Roger Patterson before he died. That's why the bass playing is so similar between this album and Piece of Time, but so different than Elements (because Choy writes it).

Kelly Shaefer writes most if not all of the guitar parts. He doesn't "grunt" anywhere either?

Other than those minor things, awesome review
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.08.2008 at 18:09  
Written by Bitter Peace on 12.08.2008 at 18:05

Man, you're review is all messed up

Tony Choy didn't write the bass parts nor bring anything to the table. All the bass had already been written by Roger Patterson before he died. That's why the bass playing is so similar between this album and Piece of Time, but so different than Elements (because Choy writes it).

...


The reviewer doesn't say anywhere in this review that Tony Choy wrote any of the bass parts he just mentions that Choy's playing style is different to Patterson's and thereby that Choy adds a different layer to the music.
BloodTears - 13.08.2008 at 19:41  
Yes, it is a very good album, brilliant some would say. I say it: I think it's one of the best things I've heard. This is so diverse and appealing. It's really never boring to me. All the songs move up and down in their riffs and it keeps you interested.

Bitter Peace - 13.08.2008 at 23:04  
Well fine then, he implies it when he said "The band gets a little funky in places. This is because of the whole slapping bass that Choy brings to the table from time to time". That's not from Choy doing anything other than playing Patterson's parts. Patteron plays the songs the same exact way on their demos before this album came out and he died. Don't get me wrong, Tony Choy is one of my favorite bass players, but Patterson is excellent also and deserves credit where it's due

Ana you rock

This album single-handedly changed my perspective of music forever, as well as my drumming style.
Marcel Hubregtse - 13.08.2008 at 23:53  
Written by Bitter Peace on 13.08.2008 at 23:04

Well fine then, he implies it when he said "The band gets a little funky in places. This is because of the whole slapping bass that Choy brings to the table from time to time". That's not from Choy doing anything other than playing Patterson's parts. Patteron plays the songs the same exact way on their demos before this album came out and he died. Don't get me wrong, Tony Choy is one of my favorite bass players, but Patterson is excellent also and deserves credit where it's due



I absolutely agree that Patterson deserves credit where credit's due. But listening to the retail versions of the songs and the demo versions there is IMO clearly a different sound to the bass playing. btw, I am also a great Choy fan.
As you can read here http://www.metalstorm.ee/pub/interview.php?interview_id=424 Roger was mentioned last year by Kelly a couple of times when I interviewed Kelly & Tony at Hellfest.
Kap'N Korrupt - 14.08.2008 at 05:05  
@Bitter Peace: Who really cares...you are being extremely anal...I see that you have written no reviews for Metalstorm...until you do, stop tearing mine apart thank you....
Bitter Peace - 14.08.2008 at 07:06  
Like I said, awesome review, but it just had some inaccuracies. I'm glad that you took the time to review it. I personally don't have the time nor patience to do reviews, and I appreciate it when others find the time to write them.
Kap'N Korrupt - 14.08.2008 at 22:22  
I see what you are getting at with Choy though now that I think about it...Choy is one of my favorite bassists...even though he is just following in Patterson's footsteps, he does make it his own...
INÆRIS - 06.07.2010 at 06:36  
I want this album
Guib - 04.04.2011 at 06:50  
That Album made me appreciate what is now called Technical Death Metal. Without Atheist I doubt I would've been into this genre at all. Their style, sound and originality is brilliant and Tony Choy is an incredible Bass Player. When I bought Unquestionable Presence I had never heard of the band it was a random pick on the shelves and I was still new to death metal... Never regreted that choice its one of my favorite albums and one that certainly influenced me the most.
JD - 29.09.2011 at 19:29  
Love the jazzy bass sound, fantastic album.

Good review.
Kap'N Korrupt - 30.09.2011 at 07:12  
Written by JD on 29.09.2011 at 19:29

Love the jazzy bass sound, fantastic album.

Good review.

Thank you!

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