Atheist's debut album is an intriguing hint at what was to come. Though incorporating a wider range of influences and a tricker variety of time signatures than typical death metal groups of the era, the band's sound was at this point still rooted in the genre's typical sound (the more technical end of it, at any rate) and hadn't yet brought their avant-garde jazz influences to the fore as they would on Unquestionable Presence. What you get on Piece of Time, then, is a bizarre mixture of well-performed death metal with the occasional jazzy or proggy interjection inserted here or there.
Blink and you'll miss 'em, and might be left thinking "Wait, did Roger Patterson just play a Chris Squire bassline or am I just hearing things?", but pay attention and Piece of Time will unveil more and more signs that it's more than just another response to Possessed. Still, even more experimental territory was coming up.