Finally, I get to see what the hoopla is about. To say that ATHEIST were highly influential, not only to Technical Death Metal circles but to the musical world as a whole, would be an understatement. With the superb outing entitled “Piece Of Time,” the Floridian quartet – at the time (heh) – sparked the burgeoning of the scene and single-handedly grabbed the unmanned, Technical Death reigns from any would-be contenders. As one would expect from such formidable musicians, their debut is one of the most striking and historic of the decade.
This is Relapse’s try at the re-release business and the trilogy is slated to hit stores concurrently. Needless to say, there’s a shitload of previously hard-to-find material on the latest version, so take that for what it’s worth. I venture that it’s worth a lot. Perhaps the best thing about the extra inclusions is tracing a song like “On They Slay” from its beginning phase on R.A.V.A.G.E.S.’s “On They Slay Demo,” to its intermediary phase on “Beyond Demo,” to its triumphant appearance on 1989’s “Piece Of Time.” I suggest doing that as soon as possible. Not surprisingly, the eighteen tracks here eclipse the measly nine found on the original full-length and in addition, said tracks increase the album’s length twofold. Naturally, ATHEIST’s chops are quite wondrous and would remain so until they divided their crown amongst groups such as CYNIC, DEATH and BELIEVER.
While “Piece Of Time” doesn’t measure up to its follower – the mighty “Unquestionable Presence” – the former is a resounding victory for both the band and a debut in general. Some may find the sound a tad dated, but Metal fans do indeed owe it to themselves to recommit their lives to ATHEIST. And, if you’ve not heard them before, I urge you to do so now. (Online December 12, 2005)