Thursday, September 23, 2010


Biography :

Atheist is a technical death metal band from Florida, founded in 1984, whose music combined metal riffs with subtle latin music arrangements and jazz fusion. Their second album, Unquestionable Presence, released in 1991, has been regarded by some critics as one of the most influential technical death metal albums of all time.

History :

The band was founded in 1984 in Florida, USA, firstly under the name Oblivion and later R.A.V.A.G.E. (which stands for Raging Atheists Vowing A Gory End). They recorded their debut album, Piece of Time, in 1988, which was released in Europe in 1989, but not in the United States until 1990. In 1991, bassist Roger Patterson died in a car accident and Atheist recruited Tony Choy to record their second album, the now classic Unquestionable Presence. Atheist disbanded for the first time in 1992, reuniting in 1993 and recording their last album Elements, fulfilling their contractual requirements, before disbanding for the second time.

Seven years after their second break up, Kelly Shaefer decided to re-release and remaster their three albums with different bonus tracks.

Shaefer played with Neurotica until 2002, whereas Tony Choy played in a number of other bands, including Pestilence and Cynic. In 2001, Kelly Shaefer tried to regroup the band with all the original members with the addition of the acclaimed Kyle Sokol from the Tampa Bay area on bass guitar, replacing Tony Choy due to Choy's other band commitments according to a metal magazine interview. The band reunion at this time never came to fruition due to Neurotica going on OzzFest.

Relapse Records re-issued the band's three albums in late 2005, as well as a vinyl box set containing the three albums plus the R.A.V.A.G.E. demo On They Slay. Former drummer Steve Flynn has recently re-emerged in a new band called Gnostic.

In January, 2006, Atheist announced they were regrouping to perform live during the summer and autumn of that year. The line-up was Shaefer, Burkey, Choy and Flynn. Shaefer only provided vocals due to long battles with tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Gnostic guitarist Sonny Carson handled all of Shaefer's guitar parts. Recently Chris Baker of Gnostic has been replacing Burkey because of legal troubles.

On July 12, 2008, Shaefer issued the following update: "[I'm] heading to Atlanta next Friday to jam with ATHEIST drummer and my best friend Mr. Steve Flynn, this will mark the first time we have written together since 1991's 'Unquestionable Presence'. So I am curious how it will sound. I know it will be sick, there is a formula that me and Flynn have that automatically sounds like it will be fun to hear what it will sound like. And who knows? If it it goes well...?? We will see what happens."

On July 26, 2008, Kelly Shaefer announced through the Atheist myspace page the recording of a new studio album, which will be their first in 17 years. They also will go on a tour in Europe and the USA in 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of their album Piece of Time. A live DVD will also be released from the tour.

On July 11, 2010, the band revealed the upcoming album's name as Jupiter and announced that it is set for a November release. The reformed Atheist have inked a deal with Season of Mist.

On August 3, 2010, Kelly Shaefer and Steve Flynn announced on behalf of the band that Atheist have parted ways with Tony Choy.

Band Members :

Current Members :

* Kelly Shaefer – Vocals, Guitar (1984-1994, 2006-present)
* Chris Baker – Guitar (2006-present)
* Jonathan Thompson - Guitar (2009-present)
* Steve Flynn – Drums (1984-1991, 2006-present)

Former Members :

* Rand Burkey - Guitar (1988-1992, 1993-1994)
* Roger Patterson – Bass (1985-1991)
* Mike Callahan - Guitar (2010)
* Frank Emmi – Guitar (1993)
* Sonny Carson – Guitar (2006-200?)
* Mickey Hayes – Drums (1993)
* Josh Greenbaum – Drums (1993)
* Kyle Sokol – Bass (2001)
* Tony Choy – Bass (1991, 1993-1994, 2006-2010)

Discography :

Studio albums :

* Atheist - Piece of Time (1989)
* Atheist - Unquestionable Presence (1991)
* Atheist - Elements (1993)
* Atheist - Jupiter (2010)

Live albums :

* Atheist - Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken (2009)

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