PICK OF THE WEEK: Ataraxy infuse morbidity into blistering death metal on ‘Where All Hopes Fades’

Death metal’s always good for an ample dose of brutality and horror, but not every band packs their music with misery. That misery can be depressive or morbid, and if woven properly into the mix, it can make for death metal that’s weightier and more devastating, laying waste to your body and psyche.

Spanish death unit Ataraxy have both bone-crushing violence and mournful tones in their music, making what they do even darker than some of the bands that have their minds situated in horror and bloodshed. On their tremendous second record “Where All Hopes Fades,” the band—vocalist/guitarist Javi, guitarist Santi, bassist Edu, and drummer Viejo—unveils six tracks spread over 45 minutes that drop a dark curtain over you and bring down your mood while you’re being bludgeoned. Following up their 2012 debut record “Revelations of the Ethereal,” Ataraxy should be able to extend their reach with Dark Descent behind them, and this record is one that will allow you to drink in the darkness and have you taking this psychologically horrifying trip along with them.

“The Absurdity of a Whole Cosmos” is a slow, eerie instrumental opening track that bleeds deliberately and keeps welling up liquid before flowing into “Matter Lost in Time.” This 10:49-long track drubs slowly at the start, with Javi’s growls sounding otherworldly, as the amalgamation of doom and death picks up speed. The band begins crushing with a callousness, with the music feeling like it originated in a fever dream and made its way into reality. The music plods, as the melody lines entangle everything before things speed up and resume smothering. The growls rip at the skin, while the guitars are dizzying and mournful, pouring the final blackness as things rumble to a close. “One Last Certainty” unloads from the start, with harsh wails and lurching growls joining forces and stunning, and smeary death metal leaving black streaks. A dose of slowness is dealt before the pace erupts, punishing bones and grinding closed.

“As Uembras d’o Hibierno” is murky and stormy, taking its time to unfurl and march into the throes of harshness. Mauling growls meet up with doom horns, pushing deeper into the destructive madness. Dark riffs well up and collect ash, while the raspy growls and funereal ambiance give the back end of it a pounding precision and remains rampaging until the track slows into a mournful tempo. The guitars chug, while Javi delivers a chilling monologue drowning in echoes, as the track ends at the frozen gates of death. Closer “The Blackness of Eternal Night” is the longest song, stretching over 12:50 and starting with icy guitars dripping. The fog rises as the growls strangle, and then we trudge mercilessly into scarred emotions and gruff growls that blister your flesh. A black metal touch is splashed on the guitars, as they cut through the sinew and lead to a gut-wrenching battery. From there, a slow, weary pace takes over, with weird guitars streaking blood, and the track fading out into a mysterious noise pocket.

Ataraxy’s mix of gloomy doom and sepulchral death is cloudy and misery-inducing, making “Where All Hope Fades” a place where desolation and madness are the primary tenants. The music is captivating and swirling, punishing and dizzying, making it one of the first landmark death metal records of young 2018. These guys haven’t lost sight that death metal should bring coldness and pain, and they deliver both in ample supply on their devastating second record.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ATARAXY-281047751876/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

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