Rating:
9.0
Atheist - Elements
2 September 1993


01. Green
02. Water
03. Samba Briza
04. Air
05. Displacement
06. Animal
07. Mineral
08. Fire
09. Fractal Point
10. Earth
11. See You Again
12. Elements
13. Unquestionable Presence [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]
14. On They Slay [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]
15. Enthralled In Essence [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]
16. The Formative Years [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]
17. Mother Man [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]
18. Retribution [2005 re-release bonus] [Live at BBC Radio Broadcast (1992)]


The album Elements is Atheist's third and last album as well one of the most experimental and daring journeys in erratic genre hopping. Bassist Tony Choy returns from the previous album Unquestionable Presence. It is no question that Elements was Atheist's most focused and least brutal or progressive serving; jazz/fusion interludes most present in the metal content. Opening track "Green" clearly shows how Choy's chops will help further accentuate this metal/jazz matrimony. Clean guitars and riffing death/thrash metal work is also mixed together. Kelly Shaefer growls less on Elements, trying to sing as well as shriek and use an almost spoken guttural style of vocals. Kelly acts out all lyrics very well with rhythmic patterns. Also, All guitar solos are in key throughout the album, unlike its predecessor.

The album hashes out songs with catchier guitar hooks that are less intense in nature. Guitarists Rand Burkey and Frank Emmi constantly interchanging from metallic death metal picking choral and melody work to jazz fusion and even salsa and flamenco guitar methods. Drummer Marcel Dissantos has worked out his rhythm problems, now impressively switching from technical metal drumming to jazz/fusion techniques. "Samba Briza" shows a completely different Atheist; this track shows how the band could've easily had an alternative career as a cocktail lounge jazz band on a cruise ship. Atheist are a more progressive unit their Floridian brothers. "Displacement," a short transition piece from "Air" to "Animal," acts as an intermission from the intensity of the experience. Choy's bass properties are once again put on display. Finally, Rand and Frank don't play down-tuned metal on this album. Kelly's vocals are harsh but his pipes tend to command a thrash styling while up-tempo catchy technical thrash metal with mélanges of innovation backs him up.

Atheist is a very hard band to pinpoint: it is hard to categorize their sound. A band influenced by metal, funk, jazz, fusion, salsa and flamenco is very hard to attack from any angle. Sometimes it is best not to overanalyze and critique something as vastly unique and distinct such as Elements and simply bask its brilliance. Elements showed that Atheist was finally able to take their music one step higher. Conflicts between band members resulted in the break-up of what was one of the most forward-thinking bands in metal.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Atheist
Album: Elements


 


written by Horlequism | 08.06.2006


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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Markku - 09.08.2006 at 15:30  
And such a great album was written, rehearsed, recorded and mixed only in 40 days
Kap'N Korrupt - 09.08.2006 at 22:15  
Exactly...Elements was written, rehersed and recorded under a lot of pressure from their record company...I'm really suprised that such a masterpiece was released in this scenario simply because it was only supposed to be the last released the owed their label...
Stigmatized - 18.08.2006 at 00:51  
Great album. A lot of cool stuff going on...

Great review dude.
Kap'N Korrupt - 18.08.2006 at 01:19  
thx Dream_of_Hate
Mega-Slayer - 22.11.2006 at 05:29  
Wow what a unique album,and to think they wrote and produced such an epic album,in such little time.I am glad the got around to re-releasing it,"Green","Animals" and "Samba Briza",are excellent.
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.08.2007 at 11:43  
Josh Greenbaum plays most of the drums on here and Marcel only on Samba Briza or maybe one or two more songs.
Kap'N Korrupt - 05.08.2007 at 19:16  
Well, I didn't really nerd myself up with the little details before writing the review...like I said in the previous comment, you can go ahead and change some stuff if you'd like Marcel...
Bitter Peace - 14.08.2008 at 06:57  
I love Atheist's first two albums. This one, however, has never done anything for me. To me, it sounds rushed, which it was, and I could never put my thumb on why I didn't like it, until I found out Steve Flynn didn't drum on it. That must be the missing link, because Steve Flynn's drumming is the very essence of Atheist, for me at least.

I love Tony's bass playing on this album though. It seems like a good album, but not quite my cup of tea unlike their first two phenomenal albums.
qlacs - 03.08.2010 at 16:02  
Best atheist album IMO, so atmospheric
Paradox0 - 27.01.2011 at 07:02  
Really impressive album and to think that it was made under so much pressure and so little time. Kind of makes me wonder if they where trying to sound more "metal" with their previous releases and with this they just said "fuck it" and threw in everything, whether or not it would be metal. I also love how despite the album beng very experimental, it all sounds strangely comprehensive and oddly enough composed of complete ideas rather then implementing "unique" sounds. I think this is probably my favorite Atheist album.
@gent_-_orange - 10.02.2011 at 14:09  
This is a great album, definitley the most underrated Atheist record.
Luneth - 11.02.2011 at 17:32  
Yeah I don't get it...
Horus - 18.03.2011 at 15:47  
Pure awsome, thats what it is

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