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Ataraxie : Bethlehems Bastarde



Imindain has got a reputation within the Doom community: The UK band is slow. Okay, being slow is rather expected when dealing with Doom but when the taste for slowness contaminates the rhythm of your releases, it can raise some impatience. A new album from Imindain is, under these circumstances, some good news, be it a simple split.

On 'Bethlehems Bastarde', they join forces with the French band Ataraxie to pay tribute to the godfathers of Dark Metal, the wild sorcerers of Black Doom, the mighty Bethlehem - whose legacy is still carried as a battle flag by many extreme Metal bands.

On the album, each band covers one Bethlehem song (Ataraxie re-interpret 'Aphel – Die Schwarze Schlange' and Imindain 'Tagesbuch einer Totgeburt') and offer 3 new compositions directly inspired by Bethlehem's filthy circus).

The German band is unique, I think that's collectively admitted. So, don't be surprised: The covers don't transcend the originals.

On 'Aphel...', Ataraxie doesn't manage to convey the sick occult sound that catches you by the throat on Bethlehem's version. Marquis' voice, if very versatile, sounds mechanical, failing to deliver the extraterrestrial pathological infections of Landfermann.

I find their performance on the whole of their part to be rather flashy. The word is a bit strong I admit but, compared to Bethlehem's song, I can help thinking it lacks the mandatory evilness. You have more the impression of an exercise - you don't feel the insane possession; there is rage and hysteria but no straightjacket would be needed here. I'd say their two songs are good but a bit superficial; it's disappointing considering the brilliance of their last full-lenght 'Anhédonie'.

With Imindain, we come to more convincing stuff; I dare say, more sensuous. The texture sounds more "human", it's less calculated and less demonstrative. Ataraxie's little recipe is always a bit the same. The English deliver some more organic flow which is better articulated and more coherent where the French, on the other hand, pile up breaks and rhythm changes too abruptly.

There is a nice intensity in the way the guitars build a rather fragile scaffold. They let the room needed for the music to settle , the voice being a bit further in the mix with the drums that kicks dry in the background. There is in their part (which consists in three songs), more emotion and more complexity. The homage is humble but it vibrates with passion.

So, all in all this is a half-half. As often with that kind of release, you have a band that moves you more than the other. In this case, Imindain win my vote; they are not around much these years, but they're always good.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated

Information

Tracklist :
Ataraxie:
1. Aphel - Die schwarze Schlange (Bethlehem cover)
2. Der Bärtige Masochist

Imindain:
3. Strangle Me
4. Selbstmord
5. Tagebuch einer Totgeburt (Bethlehem cover)

Translation:
1. Aphel – the black snake (Bethlehem cover)
2. The bearded masochist
4. Suicide
5. Diary of a stillbirth (Bethlehem cover)

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes.

Visit the Ataraxie bandpage.

Reviewed on 02-02-2010 by Bertrand marchal
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