Live at Hole In The Sky, Bergen Metal Fest 2006
|Origin||Sarasota, Florida, United States|
|Genres||Technical death metal, progressive metal, jazz fusion|
|Labels||Season of Mist|
|Neurotica, Gnostic, Cynic, Pestilence|
Atheist is a death metal band from Florida, founded in 1988 by vocalist/guitarist Kelly Shaefer, guitarist Rand Burkey, bassist Roger Patterson, and drummer Steve Flynn. The band is known for their highly technical playing style, and their 1991 album Unquestionable Presence is regarded as an important landmark of the technical death metal genre. After disbanding in 1994, the band reformed in 2006 and have since released one studio album and a live DVD.
The band was originally formed in 1984 in Sarasota, Florida, United States, 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 (previously a member of Cynic) to record their second album, Unquestionable Presence. Atheist disbanded for the first time in 1992, reuniting in 1993 and recording their third 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 Area 305 and Pestilence. 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 formed the band Gnostic in the same year. 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, while Burkey was later replaced by Chris Baker of Gnostic .
On July 12, 2008, Shaefer issued a statement where he indicated that he and Flynn were working on new material. 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 also toured Europe and the USA in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their album Piece of Time. A live DVD filmed at the Wacken Open Air Festival appeared towards the end of the year.
On July 11, 2010, Atheist revealed that their fourth studio album would be called Jupiter and was set for a November release. They inked a deal with Season of Mist, and their fourth studio album, Jupiter, was released on November 8, 2010.
On August 3, 2010, Kelly Shaefer and Steve Flynn announced on behalf of the band that Tony Choy would not be appearing on Jupiter but is still likely to appear in live performances with the band due to his own musical aspirations. The band is currently working on a fifth studio album.
Shaefer: He and I do a guitar solo trade off in the middle of "Faux King Christ"
Shaefer: I played on every record.