I’ve followed Spanish underground legend death metallers Ataraxy for a number of years now, since I heard their Revelations Of The Ethereal record a whole decade ago, and I’ve always been impressed by their uncomfortable, almost Lovecraftian take on the genre. Their third full length, The Last Mirror is out this Friday, 17th June through Me Saco Un Ojo and Dark Descent Records for vinyl and CD releases respectively.
The uneasy, squalling descent of Presages marks our progress down into the eldritch depths of hideousness, where The Bell That Constantly Sounds stretches out a wizened hand to take us like Virgil to Dante. Ataraxy‘s work has always been brutal and heavy, but I think this record is where they have really ramped up the atmosphere as well; each crunching riff is cloaked in a miasmic gloom and when the clean melodies come in to haunt that low end it is something real good. The slowburn death/doom torture of The Bell That Constantly Sounds is shattered by a thunderous Swedish death metal tribute in the rampant Decline, channelling classic Entombed with an absolutely brutal guitar tone into a classic Bolt Thrower-esque chug.
a tour de force of brutality and bewildering beauty…
Every time I hear Ataraxy I marvel at the idea that these guys are still so unknown apart from the most in touch of hardcore fans. The dynamic tonal shifts in Visions Of Absence, the casual brilliance of the bewitching Silence; Ataraxy are putting out the kind of old school death metal revival albums that everyone has been TRYING to make for years now, and it feels effortless. Their work is growing in scale, with each track feeling bigger and more complex than the previous. Just when you think you have them pegged, the band detour, such as in the wonderfully King Diamond-esque close of Under The Cypress Shadow. It is that almost cinematic scope that really flourishes on The Last Mirror and Ataraxy‘s underground death metal credentials are assured.
Taking their grinding brutality into strange new worlds, spaces of striding doomy melody and unwavering atonality, The Last Mirror see Ataraxy reach the pinnacle of what inventiveness the old school death metal genre has left. I listen to so much death metal that it is difficult to really speak to me in any new and exciting way, but Ataraxy have always managed due to their excellent songwriting and ability to do something just different. The Last Mirror is no different, a tour de force of brutality and bewildering beauty.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson