Piece of Time

Performers Atheist

September 13, 2005 | Compact Disc

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Recorded in 1988, released in Europe in 1989, but only made available in the U.S. a year after that, Atheist's first album, Piece of Time, nevertheless had a huge impact on the death metal scene, which, at the time, could be said to be enjoying its peak years. A death album as conceived from a jazz-rock aesthetic, its unpredictably shifting tempos, non-linear riffing progressions, and sheer technicality did as much as any release of the era to push the genre's boundaries, breaking through preconceived limitations and preempting similarly adventurous contemporaries like Cynic, Pestilence, and Death (who had yet to become at all seriously progressive). One listen to brain-twisting creations like "Mother Man," "Room with a View," "On They Slay," and "I Deny" -- meshing frantic, severely discordant chords and sparse melodies with the agonized growls of frontman Kelly Shaefer -- and realizing they still stand up to scrutiny following the many repeat listens necessary to absorb them, is enough to prove this assertion. The title track is another fine example, as it threads a dizzying path through sudden stops, starts, and turnarounds before finally unleashing a small taste of straight-ahead, 4/4-time thrashing at its conclusion. Also worth pointing out is that most of these tracks were initially composed by the Roger Patterson/Steve Flynn rhythm section, with guitarists Shaefer and Randy Burkey only subsequently adding their riffs to the insanity, marking a rare example of metal not based entirely on guitars. Even more impressive, though it was a remarkable achievement in its time, Piece of Time only hinted at the technical daring and unorthodox sophistication to be achieved by Atheist's second full platter, the watershed Unquestionable Presence. [Not content to simply re-release it simply for availability's sake, Relapse Records' 2005 CD reissue of Piece of Time incorporates full lyrics, informative liner notes, revealing reminisces from vocalist/guitarist Kelly Shaefer, and, most important of all, a stunning nine bonus tracks culled from Atheist's three early demos. As well as boasting song versions not heard by many since the mid-'80s cassette-trading days, and other tracks that never made it onto later albums at all, these obviously shed light upon the band's unlikely evolution from run-of-the-mill Floridian death metallers to death-jazz pioneers, with the earliest trio of demos from 1986's "On They Slay" (when they were still called R.A.V.A.G.E.) being the most exotically non-exotic material Atheist ever recorded during their formative years.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: September 13, 2005

Genre: Death Metal

Style: Heavy Metal

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

UPC: 781676667321

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Piece of Time

Piece of Time

Performers Atheist

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: September 13, 2005

Genre: Death Metal

Style: Heavy Metal

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

UPC: 781676667321


Title Track Time
1.Piece Of Time --
2.Unholy War --
3.Room With A View --
4.On They Slay --
5.Beyond --
6.I Deny --
7.Why Bother? --
8.Life --
9.No Truth [Beyond Demo] --
10.No Truth --
11.On They Slay --
12.Choose Your Death --
13.Brain Damage --
14.Beyond [Hell Hath No Mercy Demo] --
15.Hell Hath No Mercy [R.A.V.A.G.E. On They Slay Demo] --
16.On They Slay --
17.Brain Damage --
18.Undefiled Wisdom --

Editorial Notes

Recorded in 1988, released in Europe in 1989, but only made available in the U.S. a year after that, Atheist's first album, Piece of Time, nevertheless had a huge impact on the death metal scene, which, at the time, could be said to be enjoying its peak years. A death album as conceived from a jazz-rock aesthetic, its unpredictably shifting tempos, non-linear riffing progressions, and sheer technicality did as much as any release of the era to push the genre's boundaries, breaking through preconceived limitations and preempting similarly adventurous contemporaries like Cynic, Pestilence, and Death (who had yet to become at all seriously progressive). One listen to brain-twisting creations like "Mother Man," "Room with a View," "On They Slay," and "I Deny" -- meshing frantic, severely discordant chords and sparse melodies with the agonized growls of frontman Kelly Shaefer -- and realizing they still stand up to scrutiny following the many repeat listens necessary to absorb them, is enough to prove this assertion. The title track is another fine example, as it threads a dizzying path through sudden stops, starts, and turnarounds before finally unleashing a small taste of straight-ahead, 4/4-time thrashing at its conclusion. Also worth pointing out is that most of these tracks were initially composed by the Roger Patterson/Steve Flynn rhythm section, with guitarists Shaefer and Randy Burkey only subsequently adding their riffs to the insanity, marking a rare example of metal not based entirely on guitars. Even more impressive, though it was a remarkable achievement in its time, Piece of Time only hinted at the technical daring and unorthodox sophistication to be achieved by Atheist's second full platter, the watershed Unquestionable Presence. [Not content to simply re-release it simply for availability's sake, Relapse Records' 2005 CD reissue of Piece of Time incorporates full lyrics, informative liner notes, revealing reminisces from vocalist/guitarist Kelly Shaefer, and, most important of all, a stunning nine bonus tracks culled from Atheist's three early demos. As well as boasting song versions not heard by many since the mid-'80s cassette-trading days, and other tracks that never made it onto later albums at all, these obviously shed light upon the band's unlikely evolution from run-of-the-mill Floridian death metallers to death-jazz pioneers, with the earliest trio of demos from 1986's "On They Slay" (when they were still called R.A.V.A.G.E.) being the most exotically non-exotic material Atheist ever recorded during their formative years.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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