Atheist (band)

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Atheist at Evolution Festival 2006
Atheist at Evolution Festival 2006
Background information
Also known as
  • Oblivion
  • R.A.V.A.G.E.
OriginSarasota, Florida, U.S.
Years active1984–1992, 1993–1994, 2006–present
MembersKelly Shaefer
Steve Flynn
Chris Martin
Daniel Martinez
Yoav Ruiz-Feingold

Atheist is an American death metal band from Florida, founded in 1984 by the vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kelly Shaefer, lead 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 a landmark of the technical death metal genre.[4] After disbanding in 1994, the group reformed in 2006 and has since released one studio album and a live DVD.[citation needed]


Atheist in 2006

The band was originally formed in 1984 in Sarasota, Florida, 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] and the band expects to release their fifth studio album sometime in 2023.[14]



  • Kelly Shaefer – vocals (1988–1994, 2006–present), rhythm guitar (1988–1994, 2010[15])
  • Steve Flynn – drums (1987–1991, 2006–present)
  • Chris Martin – rhythm guitar (2012–present)

Current live musicians

  • Anthony Medaglia – drums (2019-present)




Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]


  1. ^ DaRonco, Mike; Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography of Atheist". AllMusic. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Hickman, Langdon (October 12, 2018). "I'm Listening to Death Metal #2: Atheist's 'Unquestionable Presence'". Invisible Oranges. Archived from the original on October 22, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 36/7. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  4. ^ "Atheist Unquestionable Presence". AllMusic. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Atheist". Relapse Records. Archived from the original on May 4, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  6. ^ "ATHEIST Regroup, Announce Exclusive ON LIVE TV Festival Appearances". Blabbermouth. Retrieved January 13, 2006.
  7. ^ "ATHEIST Members Collaborating On First New Material Since 1991". Blabbermouth. Archived from the original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  8. ^ "Atheist – Writing New Material". Metalstorm. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "ATHEIST: New Album Title Revealed". Road runner records. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "Legendary ATHEIST Signs With SEASON OF MIST". Blabbermouth. Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
  11. ^ "Atheist Part Ways With Tony Choy: News @". Season-of-mist. August 3, 2010. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  12. ^ "ATHEIST Preparing To Record New Album". Road runner records. June 5, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  13. ^ "ATHEIST Signs With AGONIA RECORDS; New Album Due This Year". Blabbermouth. February 21, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  14. ^ "Atheist – To Headline European Tour In February 2022". Metal Storm. April 22, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  15. ^ "Atheist interview". October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017. Shaefer: He and I do a guitar solo trade off in the middle of "Faux King Christ"{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
    - "JUPITER'S RETURN'S RETURN: THE ATHEIST INTERVIEW (PART II)". Metal Suck. October 18, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2017. Shaefer: I played on every record.

External links[edit]