Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Atheist - Piece Of Time
(NMG)

It's rare to see a small label so on the ball when they do reissues, but Atheist was industry insider Kelly Shaefer's baby (Kelly is also a singer for Neurotica), and as such, he's made sure this thing's packed with info, three of four mensa metal dudes "looking back" (Roger Patterson died in 1990), each track discussed in detail. Florida's Atheist, of course, are one of those revered cult acts, joining the likes of Watchtower, Nocturnus, Cynic, Death and yes, early Fear Factory as bands who found ways to confound and push forward the promise of Exodus, Megadeth and Metallica into more complex realms. Mission accomplished, due to capable, dry, powerful production values, most remarkable trait being the drum sound and performance. This is the band's first of three albums, and comes complete with lyrics, rare photos, and six bonus demo tracks. See www.atheistonline.com for more info.
Rating 7

Gardenian Sindustries
(Nuclear Blast)

Reviewers are actually a bit intimidated by records like this, Gardenian confounding all tags with bits of death, prog, industrial, doom, black and thrash (gasp!), fired in the crucible of Gothenburg melody. The industrial sentiment comes primarily from Peter Tagtgren's production job, one of his best, Sindustries sounding like he's managed to turn up the bass, treble and midrange while keeping the volume in check. So the drums cut like industrial music, although they are played by an awesome force by the name of Thim Blom. I dunno, one thinks Night In Gales' Nailwork or er, Soilwork here (with the same penchant for trite, faux intellectual lyrics), Gardenian pounding with both bottom end and brains through a truly progressive power that ultimately causes an uneasy confusion, the listener second-guessing in a theoretical manner, whether he should emotionally invest or not. And there's the rub: you've got a second tier act here that might come off cold and remain so if you don't get to read much about them and get inside their heads.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5