Ataraxy – The Last Mirror

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After releasing their first studio album 'Revelations of the Ethereal' and sophomore outing 'Where All Hope Fades' Zaragoza's death metal-based outfit Ataraxy takes a darker and atmospheric approach to death metal. Now nearly fifteen years after its formation the Spanish quartet conveys a gloomy requiem for the dead. Undoubtedly, the funereal, sepulchral tone seems quite prevailing on the band’s third album 'The Last Mirror'. Once you start contemplating the dismal painting of the album cover, the music slowly drags you out from the mortal realm.

In the somber gloom of the opening intro ‘Passages’, the guitars paint horrible visions. Being neither aggressive nor fast-paced, the architecture of slow doom metal emphasizes the backdrop of the rhythm guitars. The 7 songs on the album have a sepulchral quality to them and the vocals here stand out for creating a unique atmosphere. The riffing is sculpted of its own style with the scorching guitars and the crushing drums building slow tempos. The second track ‘The Bells That Constantly Sounds’ strikes a merciless tone. With heavy guitar chords and double bass it creates a massive reverb while the vocals eject otherworldly growls. The guitars conjure ominous vistas. Ataraxy has managed to employ the slow doomy riffs as the key element. Though the growls are perfectly layered with the vehement riffs, the gloom-like quality of the guitars and the keyboards evokes the hallmarks of classic doom. The songwriting and the musical composition enhance the mood thus the emotions and atmosphere are as morose as the dark requiem.

The slow passages are full of hooks: the guitars deliver a mournful cadence and the brutal opening of ‘Decline’ shows the influences of old-school death metal, bringing something similar to the style of Morgoth and Asphyx. The Spanish four-piece boosts malevolent riffs before pulling the listener into the slow, morose dirges. Each time the vocals add their wicked kind of growls, the guitars and the rattling drums are able to wreak damage to your soul. Fast energetic paces become more frequent as the band maintains a great balance between the slower and the faster tempos. Dismal melodies are scattered throughout the running time of 42 minutes.

Araraxy’s third album includes plenty of atmospheric passages that are embellished with guitar chords. Powered by hefty guitar riffs, these faster tempos are surely lethal and clinical. Although the drumming performance doesn’t rely on blast beats, ‘Visions of Absence’ pushes the boundaries as the ponderous drums and guitars parade slowly through the tempo. Yet the whole reverb emphasizes the crushing drums. Ataraxy takes you to desolate landscapes. Without a doubt ‘The Last Mirror”s flamboyance contrasts with death/doom acts such as Disembowelment.

The mournful mood allows the listener to gaze over realms of demise and this is because the music has an odd vibe whereas the vocals herein sound like the wail of the tortured spirits. The climax of the third album focuses on the heaviness of the guitar riffs. There is an immense atmosphere that gives songs like ‘Under the Cypress Shadow’ a melancholic quality. The crushing feel of old-school death metal provides an unsettling march towards the realms of doom. Ataraxy borders on something quite creepy and dark; even when the keyboards are used, they show the creativity of the composition.

The Last Mirror’ offers a wider scope into the musical composition: there are plenty of riffs that will have a binding effect on the audience. There is so much to uncover herein. Ataraxy overwhelmingly manages to capture the awe-inspiring moments by combining the elements of the lead and rhythm guitars to set an ominous backdrop to the growls. With their massive ability to unleash pure death metal aggression, these powerful compositions became awash by slow, ethereal guitar passages on ‘Silence’. ‘The Last Mirror’ follows a similar pattern to the band’s first studio album, but the atmosphere and the guitar work are inconceivably beyond the expectations.

There’s so much to consider whether it concerns the lofty work of the guitar leads, the rhythm or the vocal performance, but the fact that Ataraxy has found its own niche in playing an unparalleled form of gloomy death metal that will surely appeal to many fans of the genre. And probably the final track ‘A Mirror Reflects Our Fate’ cements the atmospheric framework of weaving suspenseful sensations of doom that works as the perfect theme for the album in the whole. The majestic parade of the strumming guitar chords and the dark rhythm simply reveals the solid structure of the songwriting.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10
9

‘The Last Mirror’ conjoins oppressive heaviness with a funereal and airy somberness that defines the shifting focus to illustrate sullen gloomy shades, making Ataraxy’s music as dark as the starless nights.

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