Pelican - Ataraxia - Taraxis
Southern Lord
Instrumental Post-Doom
4 songs (17'55")
Release year: 2012
Pelican, Southern Lord
Reviewed by Alex

I doubt I will ever reach the state of mind used as the title by instrumentalists Pelican for their latest EP, but I certainly wish I could. Ataraxia – the ultimate tranquility, the state of no worry. How can anybody even expect to achieve this in our crazy-tempo stressful world? Well, listening to some of my favorite metal albums at times brings me close. At least for short moments I can subconsciously feel leaving all problems outside of my brain and giving in to the flow. The closer examination of Ataraxia/Taraxis EP did reveal that effect to be achievable, if only periodically.

Pelican bandmembers now reside in separate cities and use the studio to pull together their post-doom post-metal post-everything monumental creations. One of the bigger achievements for the EP for me then was the fact the compositions here do not sound lifeless and strewn together from the pre-recorded parts. The feel of the band all connecting in the same rehearsal room was present, and, therefore, commendable.

The opener Ataraxia, the song title fitting, is a soft fabric covering of shimmering, dopey electric noise, the necessary warm-up on the mind muscles, before they are subjected to a deep massage of the heavier riffs to follow. You can use Ataraxia, the song, to contemplate how much you are ready to let most of your current inhibitions go. Lathe Biosas and Parasite Colony follow and are the meat of the EP, where the prototypical riffs with the heaviness Lair of the Minotaur style converge with electric grooviness. Sludgy, boulder moving riffs take on rhythmic textures that ultimately bring sereneness, regardless how heavy these riffs really are, and that is the testament to the record’s impeccable flow. The first three compositions on the EP are an exercise in smooth, flowy, yet constantly forward motion, the apogee plateau not clearly defined, but definitely present.

The closer Taraxis does boom and strengthen towards its closure, but for the most part it is spiritual and shamanistic, having strangely soothing percussion and beat, as well as American acoustic folk parts. We can argue whether the acoustic parts are more desert rock (since I hear more Appalachia), or something else, but Taraxis definitely reconnects with nature more than anything else on the EP and ratchets the slight pressure achieved on Lathe Biosas and Parasite Colony down.

Definitely not an outright instrumental doom (I don’t see Pelican going back to that), Ataraxia/Taraxis EP is does not dwell only on shapeless post-rock sounds either. It presented a new chapter for Pelican trying to synthesize from a lot of points from its past. If anything, the only complaint is that this chapter suffers from too much brevity, and the story is over before we know it.

Killing Songs :
You will either like or you won't, picking killer tracks on records like this is pointless
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Pelican that we have reviewed:
Pelican - Forever Becoming reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Pelican - What We All Come to Need reviewed by Adam and quoted 91 / 100
Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw reviewed by Daniel and quoted 96 / 100
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