Spanish band ATARAXY was formed back in 2008, and in the decade they have been active they have released 4 EPs and two full length albums. “Where All Hope Fades” is their latest full length studio production, and was released through US label Dark Descent Records in February 2018, with a vinyl edition to follow later courtesy of Me Saco Un Ojo Records.
As one might surmise by the album cover in general and the type of logo used by the band in particular, this is a band whose existence is based around the more extreme edges of the metal realm. Not quite where one would expect however, as this isn’t one of those bands that run at 160 mp/h through everything and put a sinister growl on top or below. If anything, this is a band that probably could tip their hat towards the legacies of Thomas Gabriel Fischer and his various projects in terms of certain core fundamental traits in their music.
That being said, the vocals aren’t on that latter list, as in this case we are dealing with sinister, guttural spoken and shouted vocals. Not quite what I’d describe as a growl, but perhaps what one might describe as a gnarly and almost sacral guttural voice. The kind of voice that one might expect to hear at a dark mass.
The music tends to be on the slower side. Pacier runs instigated by riffs, drums or both is a feature throughout, but the album is dominated by slow, majestic arrangements that at times have something of an orchestral feel to them. A Wagnerian scope you might say, filled with dark tones, depth and a dramatic nerve. Keyboards of various kinds are used to add depth or provide a colder, almost alien chill to selected passages, and there’s also room for more delicate, atmospheric laden interludes in the greater majority of the songs.
None of the songs are made to be overly loud affairs however. While rich in timbre the guitar sound in particular has been mixed with more of a distant sound, only occasionally placed in more of an up-front, dominant and loud manner. If this is a desired choice or a result of circumstance I can’t tell, but this tight, compact and somewhat distanced sound suits this music rather well, in essence creating what I’d describe as a compelling atmosphere and also, at least so some extent, emphasizing the sacral feel I get from this production.
In sum I find this album to be an intriguing one. The mood and atmosphere would make this album a good choice for a soundtrack to a dark mass, with it’s sacral sounding and distanced variety of tight, compact but also rich and expressive doom metal oriented foundation, where the vocals provides for more of an extreme metal element element alongside the passages where the band increase tempo and intensity. Those who tend to enjoy doom metal flavored with extreme metal details should know their visiting time with this one.
My rating: 8/10
The Absurdity of a Whole Cosmos // A Matter Lost in Time // One Last Certainty // As Uembras d’o Hibierno // The Mourning Path // The Blackness of Eternal Night