Atheist: Piece Of Time-80’s-1989.

Piece of Time is the debut album by the technical death metal band Atheist, recorded in 1988 but not released officially until 1990. This was because the label that Atheist had initially signed with, Mean Machine Records, was going bankrupt, and the band had to search for another label.

Atheist is an American death metal band from Florida, founded in 1984 by the vocalist and guitarist Kelly Shaefer, guitarist Rand Burkey, bassist Roger Patterson and drummer Steve Flynn.[3] The band is known for its highly technical playing style and its 1991 album, Unquestionable Presence, is regarded as an important landmark of the technical death metal genre.[4] After disbanding in 1994, the band reformed in 2006 and has since released one studio album and a live DVD.[citation needed]

The band was originally formed in 1984 in Sarasota, firstly under the name Oblivion and later as R.A.V.A.G.E. (which stands for “Raging Atheists Vowing A Gory End”).[5] They recorded their first album, Piece of Time, in 1988, though the album was not released until 1990 due to record company issues.[3] In 1991, Patterson died in a car accident and Atheist recruited Tony Choy (previously a member of Cynic) to record their second album, Unquestionable Presence.[3] Atheist disbanded for the first time in 1992, reuniting in 1993 and recording a third album, Elements,[3] fulfilling their contractual requirements, before disbanding for a second time.

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

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”. Flynn formed the band Gnostic in the same year. In January 2006, Atheist announced they were regrouping to perform live during the summer and autumn. The line-up was Shaefer, Burkey, Choy and Flynn. Shaefer only provided vocals due to long battles with tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.[6] The Gnostic guitarist Sonny Carson played all of Shaefer’s guitar parts, while Burkey was later replaced by Chris Baker of Gnostic.

On July 12, 2008, Shaefer issued a statement indicating that he and Flynn were working on new material.[7] A month later, Shaefer announced that they had commenced the recording of a new studio album, which would be their first in over 15 years. The band toured Europe and the US in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Piece of Time. A live DVD filmed at the Wacken Open Air Festival appeared towards the end of the year.[8]

On July 11, 2010, Atheist revealed that their fourth studio album would be called Jupiter and was set for a November release.[9] They inked a deal with Season of Mist and Jupiter was released on November 8, 2010.[10]

On August 3, 2010, Shaefer and Flynn announced on behalf of the band that Tony Choy would not be appearing on Jupiter but was still likely to appear in live performances with the band due to his own musical aspirations.[11] The band announced in 2014 that it was working on a fifth studio album, which was planned to be released in 2015;[12] however, the album would be left unreleased for over half a decade.

In February 2018, Atheist signed with Agonia Records.[13] The band expects to release their fifth studio album sometime in 2021 or 2022, and in order to support it, they will embark on their first European tour in over ten years in February 2022.[14]


Hell Hath No MercyDemo1987
Piece of TimeFull-length1990
Unquestionable PresenceFull-length1991
Atheist – The CollectionBoxed set2005 
Unquestionable Presence: Live at WackenLive album2009
Second to SunSingle2010 
Best OfCompilation2017
Original Album CollectionBoxed set2018 
Kelly ShaeferVocals, Guitars (lead), Lyrics, Songwriting
Rand BurkeyGuitars (lead), Songwriting (tracks 1, 3, 6, 9)
Roger Patterson R.I.P. 1991)Bass, Songwriting (tracks 1-3, 5-9)
Steve FlynnDrums, Songwriting (tracks 1-3, 5-9)

One thought on “Atheist: Piece Of Time-80’s-1989.

  1. It’s said that the first cds beginnings of most bands are just a starter before the next albums. Well, maybe so, but it’s difficult to generalize everyone in this way, especially when it comes to the Atheist format group! This band made a debut like that, to which such trivial phrases simply do not fit and seem terribly harmful. During the death metal boom, Atheist turned out to be an extraordinary band in this trend, quite innovative and – even from a later perspective – unusual sounding. After all, at the time, they proposed something way beyond the norm.

    The recipe for death metal in their performance was quite specific. Well, “Piece Of Time” is a death metal still very steeped in the speed and aggression characteristic for thrash metal (especially in terms of dicing riffs and Kelly Scheafer’s vocals that are on the verge of thrash incur and death squawk), on the other side, full of technical twists, irregular rhythms, jazz deviations, but also madness and rawness. The point is that this death-jazz mix-mash really sticks together and none of these components dominate the others (the other thing is that in the later years the quartet did not suffer from more technique)! Combinatorialism has come to the Atheist so easily here that it does not even for a moment pass the thought of calling “Piece…” overdone. Anyyyway, the talent to create hits in this style and their number says for itself about the genius of this album. “Unholy War”, “No Truth”, “Room With A View”, “On They Slay”, the title one, “I Deny”, are just some of the awesomeness in “Piece Of Time”. It shouldn’t be surprising, however, because with the kind of skills of the band had at their disposal, it was obvious that they would make an absolutely explosive mixture out of it. I mentioned the frontman (but not the quality of his riffs, and they are excellent too!), so I praise the others. The sophisticated solos of Rand Burkey, the jazzy style playing of Steve Flynn, but above all, the bass madness of Roger Patterson, who often comes to the fore and goes with technical twigs. In fact, even the atmosphere and sound make a great impression and add exceptional originality to the music!

    And since I have no objections to “Piece Of Time”, the rating above is known and obvious. The Americans from Atheist on their debut simply perfectly combined death/thrash sounds with technique and progression, and at the same time created a piece of excellent music, which even after many years makes no less impression. Interestingly, their vision didn’t end there.

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