Ataraxie - Slow Transcending Agony review

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Band: Ataraxie
Album: Slow Transcending Agony
Release date: June 2005

01. A Step Into The Gloom
02. Funeral Hymn
03. L'Ataraxie
04. Slow Transcending Agony
05. Another Day Of Despondency
06. The Tree Of Life And Death [Disembowelment cover] [2015 reissue bonus]

So there you are, with some new funeral doom album by say . . . Shape of Despair, Colosseum, Pantheist or maybe Ea. You pop it into the CD player and give it a whirl. After about 5 minutes, you grunt in disgust and take it out. "Too optimistic!"

Sound like you?

Then you will probably enjoy Ataraxie's death doom album: "Slow Transcending Agony". The name of the album does a pretty good job of describing the music. None of that soft melancholy that characterizes most doom metal will be found here. There is not as much as a single melodic hook to make the music easier to digest. The emotions conveyed are somewhat cold, and tend much more towards hatred than towards sadness. This is downright gruesome music that takes no prisoners.

This album is likely to appeal primarily to fans of non-melodic funeral doom, although it is a bit too fast to be part of that genre. Death metal fans may also be interested, if they are not put off by the slowness.

The guitars are tuned all the way down to hell with extensive use of feedback and layering, creating a very thick, penetrating effect. The sound reaches all the way down into your intestines rather than staying in your ears. It is often difficult to figure out what each instrument is doing.

The pace of the music is mostly very slow (not as slow as funeral doom, but it comes close) with a few fast and grinding segments (not as fast as death metal, but also pretty close). Rather than make the album less despairing, the fast segments actually have the opposite effect.

The vocals are quite good and are comprised almost entirely deep, incomprehensible growls. There are some exceptions, most notably some truly horrible (in a good way) screaming towards the middle of the song L'ataraxie and at the end of Another Day of Despondency.

The production is the standard for this kind of music: Good, but not completely clean. This is deliberate, since it makes the music sound even dirtier than it already is.

To many a listener, this may seem like just a diSEMBOWELMENT rip-off or a faster version of Evoken. This opinion would not be entirely wrong, since the area is more or less unexplored and it would be reasonable to expect them to move a little farther away from the already established bands, but they are more than just slavish imitators and I don't think we should be too hard on them.

There are some counterpoints of the album: The transitions between different parts of the songs are often on the choppy side and seem a bit contrived. Also, I have some issues with the production. Although appropriate, for the most part, it seems that several portions were cleaned up digitally beyond the point of it making any sense since it hurts the overall grittiness of the sound.

To sum it all up: Grim, grinding, horrifying doom metal. Absolutely not for the weak of heart. If raw, brutal doom metal sounds just like your cup of tea, however, you will almost certainly find this quite satisfying.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by tuerda | 02.05.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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