Ataraxy – Where All Hope Fades (2018) REVIEW

The latest Ataraxy album begins as it ends within confidently strummed soul-searching chords, book-ended by extended tracks that invoke a slight hint of Morbus Chron-like space-faring and label mates Krypts expressive atmospheric death/doom. ‘Where All Hope Fades’ bleeds a more matured, darker blood that coughs away any traces of the ‘old school’ death metal trope without losing sight of the earthen tones the genre demands. It is a considerable level of artistic growth for a still-young band who proved their high taste level and admirable knack for interesting riffs on their debut six years ago.

What Ataraxy have done on their second full-length is distance themselves from more obvious comparisons for the sake of solemnity and ‘breathing room’ for bigger riffs. It is now nigh impossible to shallowly compare the band to Asphyx, Bolt Thrower or Cruciamentum as it was with their first full-length. That isn’t to say that ‘Revelations of the Ethereal’ was derivative or predictable, in fact it was one of the best death metal albums of 2012 that too few people took notice of. It is no small accomplishment to toss aside the many successful tropes of old school death metal and to focus on atmosphere and impact and on ‘Where All Hope Fades’ Ataraxy have found a brilliant medium between harrowing death metal and listless, sojourning death/doom metal.

In 2016 Swedish death metal band Decomposed did something similar with their ‘Wither‘ album where they found their own voice and modernized their sound a few steps away from predictable old school death metal influence. Sure the vocalist still has a hint of Martin Van Drunen in his voice, but I actually like that and in fact he sounds a bit more like the first Morgoth album which I like even more. But this isn’t a straight death/doom album going through the motions, each track has a certain attention to detail that gives memorable personality to the movements. The title track is a 10+ minute opus that includes a monster riff and some well placed clean vocal layers that never come across Gothic metal, “As Uembras  d’o Hibierno” middle section uses ominous keyboards layered under the guitars to give the track a menacing quality, “The Mourning Path” reminds the listener that they’re fully capable of blistering riff-heavy death metal, and the 12 minute closing track sums up the album’s greater musical statements into one mind-melting piece.

So, I think approaching this second Ataraxy full-length as if it’ll be a return to the sound of their first full-length’s old school riffing might be setting yourself up for disappointment. The album itself should not be a disappointment at all, though because I find it to be incredibly successful. ‘Where All Hope Fades’ is a thoughtful, brooding death/doom record from a band that is far more interested in finding the new somber rhythms of death metal without losing sight of the genre entirely. As I said before, if you enjoyed where Morbus Chron and Krypts went with their sound in recent years then I recommend this release for finding a smart medium between introspective progressive moments and destitute atmospheric death/doom.

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Artist Ataraxy
Type Album
Released February 16, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Ataraxy on Facebook
Genres
Death Doom Metal, Death Metal, Atmospheric Death Metal

Aural dreams of disturbing peace. 4.25/5.0

 

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