Album: Where All Hope Fades
Label: Dark Descent Records
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Release Date: February 16, 2018
When you think of Spain, one could think of warm beaches and sweet wine, but after listening ‘Where All Hope Fades’ you’ll associate it with some of the iciest, heaviest Death-Doom. This album sounds very much inspired by the old school Swedish death metal style, you can clearly hear the influence of bands like Asphyx, Rippikloulu, and Entombed. To compliment the death metal stylings in this album, they jump seamlessly in between blasting, speedy riffs, into Doom progressions that add a whole new level of heaviness to the album.
The jumps between slow doom metal and death metal in this album never feel out of place, Ataraxy have competently combined the best of both worlds. The intro track; “Matter Lost in Time”, and “As Uembras d’o Hibierno” are great showcases of this, we get icy guitar melodies, slow, crushing riffs, and howling vocals that convey a sense of total despair. As the songs progress the drums speed up, with the guitars following suit, however the melodies still remain to carry the dread tone.
The third and fifth tracks; “One Last Certainty”, and “ The Mourning Path” are the shortest, and seem to lean most on the death metal side of the border, overall faster, but still retaining the eerie melodies, and dark atmosphere, that haunt the rest of the album. The final song; “The blackness of Eternal Night”, is quite the journey at over 12 minutes, but it has some of the heaviest, and most somber parts on the album, and makes for a fine finale.
Despite the stylistic difference between the longer songs and short ones, they come together almost seamlessly, and the album has a very natural flow. The flip side of this, is that I can argue that things do tend to meld together and on first listen the the songs tend to sound the same. But I’m just being nitpicky, I have to applaud Ataraxy, rarely do I hear an album with such a natural progression between songs.
Normally I’m not a fan of extremely raw sounding productions, if it sounds like you recorded it with a potato, and its a muddy mess, it really detracts from the energy and heaviness that I’m looking for, But Ataraxy found a great balance on this one. The drums sound raw, but are still heavy, and have presence that will make you bang your head as you listen to them thunder along. The guitars have just the right amount of bite, the melodies and lead lines are frigid and add just the right dissonance that the atmosphere of the album calls for. The vocals aren’t quite as low as most are in this genre, but thats not a bad thing, I like them a lot, however during “Matters lost in time” and at other parts in the album Javi does a spoken words part which really doesn’t sell me, its just a bit too cheesy. And to leave out the bass would be wrong, Edu gives me exactly what I want during slow doom segments by carving his own way through them with bass lines that keep things moving, if anything, I wanted just a hair more bass in the faster parts. The production of the album is very much appropriate, and it makes me feel like the band did all the recording in the void.
So I’m gonna say it right now, I’m giving this album a 7.5, there’s a variety of reasons . My main reason to not give this album an 8 is because it took a couple listens for it to really click in with me, I didn’t dislike it on first listen, but I didn’t really think it was great. And though its a solid album all the way through, there aren’t any songs that have totally blown me away, I enjoy them a lot, but nothing made me go ‘WOW’ on first listen. But at the end of the day Ataraxy have made a very solid album, its heavy and aggressive but still has a dark and unique atmosphere. It will be seeing regular replays in my playlist, and I look forward to hearing what they have to offer in the future.
1. The absurdity of a Whole Cosmos
2. Matter Lost in Time
3. One Last Certainty
4. As Uembras d’o Hibierno
5.The Mourning Path
6. The Blackness of Eternal Night
Total Playing time: 45:26