While the two former albums, "Piece Of Time" and "Unquestionable Presence", delivered massive attacks of strange rhythm patterns, wicked influences and an unquestionable desire to challenge the listener, the final album in ATHEIST's way too short history showed a controlled band that actually wrote something we can recognize as songs. "Elements" was definitely not what we expected 12 years ago. Then again, looking back in time I'm glad today that ATHEIST didn't repeat themselves and made "Unquestionable... part II". "Elements" is more justified as an ATHEIST album today, and once again the band showed a capacity that later haven't been challenged. There are several bands that try and should be credited for this, bands such as THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, NECROPHAGIST and the Norwegian technicians SPIRAL ARCHITECT. But what ATHEIST showed us via the three full-lengths has not been challenged... yet. "Elements" was a daring album that included "... jazz, deep funk grooves, latin rhythms, flamenco guitar stylings and samba interludes..." (quoted from their bio). It felt awkward 12 years ago, but just as 12 years Chivas Regal, it tastes better now than in the beginning. The catchy songs such as 'Air' and 'Animal' satisfy your thirsty needs all the way to the bottom. Some may find the songs a bit too monotonous, but never change the winning team. If you find a super riff, just build on it and do your damn best. There's still some wickedness left on "Elements", but these feel minor compared to the catchiness ATHEIST focused on. So, compared to the other two albums, "Elements" doesn't challenge me as a listener as much as it challenge me as an ATHEIST fan. And now, I must say that it feels in place as a worthy swansong of ATHEIST's daring tour from the first seconds of "Piece Of Time" to the final seconds of the track 'Elements', that also ends the same titled album. On this album Relapse and ATHEIST (R.I.P.) have included a live radio show from 1992, where the band played sick songs from their two first albums. It's really cool to hear this songs in slightly different versions compared to the album versions. Like, the bass more prominent, and Schaefer's vocals are somewhat easier to cope with. He doesn't sound as desperate. So, yeah, a cool thing to give the fans and thinking of this as a live performance (without an actual audience there and then), it's highly impressive to really get to understand what kind of magical musicians the guys from ATHEIST were. Excellent.
More ATHEIST reviews:
Piece Of Time - by Frank Stöver
Piece Of Time - by Roy Kristensen
Unquestionable Presence - by Roy Kristensen
Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken - by Roy Kristensen