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Ataraxie : Anhédonie

Ataraxie is a French band who occupies the most extreme side of Doom; heavier and darker than Death-Doom, less slow and atmospheric than Funeral Doom. Extreme Death-Doom is a better description. 'Anhédonie' is their third album and the culmination of their art. If the bleak monotony and melodies of 'Slow Transcending Agony' left me skeptical, Anhédonie is truly captivating.

The "anhédonie" is a clinical symptom: The inability to experience positive emotions. Well, Doom has never been a vehicle for bliss but 'Anhédonie' ventured beyond the traditional depressed patterns. It’s an intense distress that overwhelms the listener, an inexorable existential pain. Marquis’ voice conveys violent emotions, using very deep growls (always topping a pachydermic rhythmic section that drapes the music in a funerary blackness), reciting spoken passages (in French) and yelling the agonizing screams of a damned soul. He is totally convincing in every range. The music follows the rhythm. A magnificent Golems’ procession can all of a sudden crumble in an epileptic chaos. The drums bolt, open the way for the guitars, the breath of the voice shortens, then abruptly, erupts into strident howls, then again, in one little inflection or after a short silence, the whole orchestra resumes its mortuary march. Impressive!

As a whole, I see 'Anhédonie' as a chant filled with gall. The voice is the epicenter of the storm and in a way, the music could be the soundtrack for a diary. The diary of a bitter man, cast away from life and deprived of his emotions. The disc is long: 74 minutes divided in only five tracks; a monument of grief that Ataraxie however succeed in making totally exciting throughout. The band gave birth to a strong work and although we can find some similarities between its world and that of Indesinence, Deinonychus or Imindain, the signature is still original and the music has depth.

A warning, however. This disc is not for everyone: at the end there is no light, no redemption. The simple and eternal lesson of Ataraxie will come to you through its gray fumes: Man is alone in the universe and his existence is a litany of cruel pains.

Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Origin
2. Silence Of Death
3. Walking Through The Land of Falsity
4. Anhédonie
5. Avide De Sens *


5. Avid For Direction

Duration : Approx. 74 minutes.

Visit the Ataraxie bandpage.

Reviewed on 02-12-2008 by Bertrand marchal
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