Release Date: 8 March 2019
Format reviewed: High quality digital promo
On contrary to the meaning of their name, ATARAXIE create a depressive, suppressive, suffocating, suicidal moods with their heavy and desperate funeral/death doom tune. Indeed, “ataraxia” has been the word which the ancient Greeks used to “describe freedom from worry or any other preoccupation”. The ancient philosophic waves used it also to describe the only true happiness possible. However in the ATARAXIE music, happiness is the last thing that could be found…
Hailing from Rouen, Normandy, the French quintet released only three albums since being active as of 2000. Now “Résignés” is band’s fourth full-length, after a pause of six years after their “L’Être et la nausée”. The new record contains five long tracks, with total running time of almost 85 minutes slow, brain crushing, torturous, black and swampy tunes. Yes I could hear a bit sludgier nuances in the sound of ATARAXIE new record compared their previous for example. The mud is there, as of the softened soil of the newly dug grave in a grey rainy November afternoon…No melancholy though, just pure pain from a blade and/or asphyxia.
What I did like in “Résignés” was the stubborn and uncompromising heaviness and grim desperation in the songs. Moreover, the tracks are predominantly slow, with breakdown to even clear guitar slow part and then fast and blasting parts. Them I liked the most to be honest – they were like a fresh breath in a hot and suffocating room.
I’m opening a bracket here. I’m big fan of the death-doom since its very dawn almost 30 years ago. Over the past yeares we all witnessed that the bands expand and prolong their tracks (leading to over 80 minutes per one track even…). And if in the beginning of the 90s I thought that the 8-9 minutes tunes by My Dying Bride for example were as long as possible, now it seems that 20 minutes are OK for this genre. This has its good and bad sides. The bands demonstrate their ability to play and (possibly) develop the compositions, from one hand, but from other – I really loose the direction. Same happened to me with “Résignés”. I really wished to have clearer message in those five tracks. Also I definitely needed more melancholy, more sorrowful parts, more atmospheric passages added to the heavy weight of the record, just in order to make it more strings touching. These additional moods would definitely make “Résignés” more accessible.
However the more I listened to the album, the more sticky it got. Like a mud on a coffin. It is just an overall experience of a distorted reality, leading to nightmarish visions and soundscapes of inevitable fatality. It’s the evil ruling while people swarming. It is a soundtrack of no-escape-hallucinations. I’m sure that those metalheads who are really digging this style, will definitely go after ATARAXIE new album. The low buzzing hellish guitars, the devastating bass line and the funeral-marching drums. The vocals, evoking tortures…It all created a constant downspiral, where my empty shell called body just was drowning. 6.5/10 Count Vlad
6.5/10 We May Survive
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