Review by Adam M on September 23, 2015.
When speaking of classic progressive death metal albums, one must mention Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence. It has the splendid guitar riffs of an absolute gem of an album. It is also the bridge between the later more jazzy material of the band and the more pure death metal of earlier times. This means the album contains the best of both worlds. The sort of free flowing jazz element of the album displays the band constantly changing and remaining interesting.
There are many excellent tracks on the album, but the highlight for me has to be the closing track …And the Psychic Straw. This song is simply an amalgamation of excitement and holds a small edge over the track Mother Man as the best on the disc. One thread that works its way throughout this entire release is the excellent bass playing beneath the exterior. It adds another dimension to the quality of this album. There are constantly interesting ideas that are put into play. This makes every song sound different than the last. The undermining drumming and bass work always makes each part flow together to create a magnificently cohesive whole. Guitar work is nimble and works well with the other instrumentation. The vocalist has a voice that fits nicely over the music, but is nothing incredibly spectacular like the remainder of the instrumentation. Altogether this album rivals the likes of Cynic’s Focus and other stellar progressive death metal releases for musicianship and it’s easy to see why.
At the end of the day, however, it is the ability to write good songs that matters most and this is where Unquestionable Presence shines. This release could be considered a transition album and it takes the best from all different time frames to combine into one stellar overall release. Any death metal fan that has yet to check this album out needs to hear it.
Rating: 9 out of 10