The band was originally called Ravage, but in order to avoid confusion with a hard rock band with the same name, the group added the dots. What then? It has to stand for something! That is when the band became Raging Atheists Vowing A Gory End.
The band had several demos like Hell Hath No Fury, Rotting In Hell and On They Slay. Two songs from the latter ended up on journalist Borivoj Krgin's and a friend's sampler (where others like Obituary were also featured) called Raging Death Vol. 1 for his Godly Records. Krgin ended up getting the band signed to his own Mean Machine Records, a subsidiary of 3 Cherries, and eventually sold the rights. At that point, Krgin had signed Atheist and Sepultura to a management deal as well.
It was through this connection that Shaefer wrote several songs for Sepultura one of which was Blood On My Hands, which the Brazilians called Stronger Than Hate. It had all started when Shaefer had moved from Cincinnati to Florida at age nine and began learning how to play the guitar. Atheist and its unique brand of techno thrash metal was at its height of popularity right after the release of Piece Of Time. The album was an early production work by producer Scott Burns and likely the man’s first 24-track recording. Consensus was that with the advent of death metal and the ever-increasing technicality of the band - eventually bordering on jazz - Atheist had managed to lose much momentum. During the period of the release of Piece Of Time Atheist was involved in a months-long verbal spat with Chuck of Death who claimed Atheist was a Nazi band for many reasons - the most obvious being Patterson's wearing SS insignia. Atheist denied the allegation going as far as pointing out that Shaefer had a Jewish girlfriend.
Musically, fans believe that part of the band's downfall was the death of founding member Roger Patterson. Returning home after a US/Canada tour with Candlemass (which wasn't booked in Montreal because the promoter didn't see a commercial potential), Patterson was killed in an accident inside the band's van just outside New Orleans. Although Cynic bassist Tony Choy acted as a session man with the band on the next album (Darren Mcfarland toured with the band after Choy took Pestilence's money and flew to Holland) the LP had some of Patterson's recordings and much of its writing within its grooves. Never a lucky band, a European tour was cancelled at this point due to the decision of drummer Steve Flynn to depart from the fold in order to attend school. Still, the band had already toured a little in Sweden and Norway in 1988.
The next incarnation of Atheist had three guitarists but, as mentioned above, the band's tours with Benediction in Europe and Cannibal Corpse and Gorguts in North America were not as well-received as in the past and the band called it a day.
Neurotica was a much more commercial affair that had musical interest and support from the AC/DC camp and production interest from the big names of rock music. The year 2000 saw attempts by Schaefer and Burkey to reform the band, but nothing happened. Burkey worked with Midnight of Crimson Glory fame in a band called Cookooflower before parting ways in rancour and placing the music freely on MP3.com. Schaefer auditioned for Drowning Pool and Velvet Revolver, but eventually formed Starrfactory in 2003. He formed Unheard in 2004. In the summer of 2005 Relapse Records announced that it would reissue the entire catalogue of the band. The band, featuring bassist Tony Choy, reformed in early 2006 and volunteered to play festival shows in Europe that summer. The band’s guitarist Rand Burkey was later forced to temporarily leave the band “due to legal troubles”. The regrouped band was scheduled to perform at a series of ‘goodbye’ shows on both sides of the Atlantic in the summer of 2007. The band’s New York City show was filmed for a DVD. Kelly Shaefer was guesting on the Benediction album, Killing Music. The man appeared on the Brits’ cover of Amebix’s Largactyl. Atheist was apparently reforming in the summer of 2008 as well with singer Kelly Shaefer and drummer Steve Flynn writing together. Season of Mist signed both Atheist and Gnostic both of which shared members. Gnostic’s debut CD Engineering The Rule was to be released before the summer while Atheist’s as-yet untitled CD was to be released later in the year. Atheist, The Faceless, Psyopus, The Agonist and Gnostic were touring the USA together in the spring. The anti-god villains issued a live album, called Unquestionable Presence: Live At Wacken, on July 21st through Relapse Records. The material stemmed from 2006. The band was signed to Season Of Mist.
A reformed Atheist soon picked Jupiter as the title for its album, which was tentatively due in November. The band lost Tony Choy amidst acrimony. The group contended that Choy was irresponsible and tardy, while the bassist claimed he sought diversity and claims he did not contribute to song writing are irrelevant. Fresh off the recording sessions of the band’s fourth studio album, Jupiter, Choy left and joined a project called Synchronicity, which also featured former King Diamonder Matt Thompson. Somehow incredibly, Atheist’s tour of Europe was cancelled in late summer of 2011. Apparently, Steve Flynn could not tour due to a personal commitment. Travis Morgan (ex-Crowmed) was on bass and Jason Halloway was on guitar now. Bassist Tony Choy rejoined the band in June of 2012 and everyone apparently pretended nothing had happened.
The first three studio albums from the techno-metal band, Roadrunner Records’ Piece Of Time, Unquestionable Presence (1991) and Elements, would be re-released as LPs in August of 2013 through Season Of Mist. The new editions are remastered on coloured vinyl and limited to 500 copies each. Atheist drummer Steve Flynn was involved in a serious car accident in Atlanta in July of 2013. He was taken to hospital and was recovering. A purported First Annual Florida Metal Fest organized by Obituary's John And Donald Tardy would take place on January 30th 2016. The concert featured Corrosion Of Conformity, Trouble, Atheist, Deicide and more.