On one hand, these guys are progressive-metal saviors, hopelessly crusading for intelligence and justice in a genre densely populated with narrow-minded working-class clones whose hopes are pinned on the way-outside chance that people won’t notice their cut-paste unoriginality. But Atheist, who’ve been hammering at this for 17 years, could also (and more easily) be seen as a heavyweight in the math-metal department, which would make their competition Botch, Red Scare, things like that. See, in large part it sounds the frickin same, folks, even if Atheist’s wankage is more classical-composer-inspired, more musical in the broadest possible sense. Solving metal’s problems (or even simply redefining the concept of prog-metal so Dream Theater and their humorless, vomit-inducing smugness are banished from history) is going to require a lot more than tossing out a few hyperspeed jackass-jazz hypno-coin fractals and singing like James Hetfield, but that’s a debate for someone who cares, which I, honestly, do not.
B- —Eric W. Saeger