ATHEIST
"Jupiter"

(Season of Mist)

01. Second To Sun
02. Fictitious Glide
03. Fraudulent Cloth
04. Live And Live Again
05. Faux King Christ
06. Tortoise The Titan
07. When The Beast
08. Third Person

RATING: 8.5/10

It will be a relief for many fans of ATHEIST's first three seminal albums — "Piece of Time", "Unquestionable Presence" and "Elements" – that comeback album "Jupiter" sounds pretty much what one would expect ATHEIST to sound like in 2010. Not that "Jupiter" is the next step forward from the extraterrestrial detour that was "Elements", but instead that it is a chip-on-the-shoulder kind of disc and a reminder to the youngsters of how tech-death is done. As compositionally challenging as those first two albums in particular might be, no one could deny the sheer aggression of the approach. What "Jupiter" does then is channel the frenetically ferocious energy of that pair through a big-balls Jason Suecof mix and Matt Washburn engineering job that cuts like a thousand knives and concisely delivers 33 minutes (eight tracks) of lethality that never falls into the trap of directionless showmanship over memorable songwriting.

Of course "Jupiter" is an exercise in technical wizardry! Who would expect otherwise? Yet as noted above, every dizzying segment is well conceived and suitable to the centrality of the song. "Jupiter" is eight tracks and about 48 opportunities to get your head taken clean off. The smile will remain and you may still be mouthing the words to the oddly addictive and utterly convulsive "Second to Sun", but the head will in fact separate involuntarily from the body. "Jupiter" is the stuff of unrelenting, unmitigated musical violence that is pretty much the exact opposite of the direction taken by CYNIC on its own comeback release, "Traced in Air".

Each song might as well come with a warning about its highly addictive attributes, as well as the threat of decapitation for those dumb enough to stand too close. "Fictitious Glide" wows repeatedly with the space-invasive amount of shred going on, "Live and Live Again" jitters, skitters, and maniacally tap dances from one end of the room to the other, and "When the Beast" joins a sort of dissonant, angular stomp with sections of a more melodic nature. But man, "Tortoise the Titan" is one big nut-bag of a tune that alternates between franticness and high tension. It also features vocalist Kelly Shaefer shoving a deranged chorus through the ATHEIST shred-blender. What enters the ear canals will turn brain matter into sour milk.

Speaking of Shaefer, you'll notice that he's no fan of the religious establishment and the deadliness of the venom that drips from his lips is rivaled only by the high-risk/low-survival-rate playing of a song like "The Fraudulent Cloth", a vicious indictment of the Catholic Church's evasive tactics used to shield itself from criticism over its scourge of pedophile priests. Then we come back to "Second to Sun" with lines like "You call it god, I'll worship the sun; without all her fire there won't be anyone" and "I wanna live in the red spot, winds 11,000 miles per hour; red, red hot!" That last part sounds a lot like "Jupiter", wouldn't you say?

The end of the story drawing near, what you must take back to your dimly lit den is that "Jupiter" didn't need to raise the tech-death standards set by the first three releases and it certainly does not. It just needed to awe-inspire and leave the boots bloody from all that kicking. That's exactly what "Jupiter" does.

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