Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
France's Ataraxie is no stranger to Funeral Doom Friday. The group has been a dominant mainstay in extreme doom since the turn of the century and have been responsible for some very momentous albums. In fact, their first full-length album, Slow Transcending Agony, had a feature back in April of last year. Admittedly, I have been looking to do a retrospective piece for a few weeks now and the recent announcement that Ataraxie's last album in 2013, L'être et la nausée, will finally be getting a vinyl release was reason enough to cover it this week.
The album was initially released on CD by Weird Truth Productions back in 2013. Now roughly four years later, the remastered vinyl version sees a release by Xenokorp, a small French label. The album itself features five tracks of Ataraxie's heaviest work to date. The range covered by every member of the band is remarkable. Patient, melodic sections of funerary dirge are bookended by outright death metal. "Procession of the Insane Ones" is quite indicative of that. The range of Ataxarie intensifies when Marquis's vocals become a part of the equation. In contrast to typical vocal arrangements, which seem to be either harsh or clean; Marquis's voice moves on a sliding scale, seamlessly transitioning from guttural growls to piercing wails and anywhere in between.
A lot of bands will list handfuls of classifiers for their music, then proceed to crudely piece and block various subgenres of metal together. Ataraxie on the other hand wonderfully melded tokens of old school death metal and DSBM. It is this melting pot of metal that the French band has made that ultimately makes them stand out in the world of funeral doom. Preorder the first pressing of L'être et la nausée now through Xenokorp. Keep an eye and an ear out for rumblings of new music as well on Facebook. The band has hinted at new music coming soon and they have been performing new material live.