After two excellent albums like Slow Transcending Agony and Anhedonie, Frenchmen Ataraxie write what could be the definitive manifesto of their music. L’Etre et La Nausée, the latest effort of the transalpine quartet, should be taken as an emblem of the ability to exhibit different nuances by a musical genre that, essentially for convenience but sometimes simplistically, is defined as funeral doom. In fact, sticking this label to this album seems very reductive because, if it is true that there are slowdowns to the limits of asphyxiation, passages so dense and oppressive that the blood almost struggles to carry oxygen to the brain, on the other hand we have moments in which is released an almost feral anger and desperate accents, but able to dissolve a moment later in delicate and unstable acoustic embroidery. For once, in this kind of work, the extra element, the one able to evoke the different moods, is just Jonathan Thery’s voice, able to interpret the lyrics contained in the songs, passing with excellent versatility from the deepest growl to an excruciating scream in depressive style, or modulating the voice in a sort of meeting point between these two styles without forgetting the almost whispered passages that accompany the most rarefied moments of the work. L’Etre et La Nausée consists of four long tracks plus a short instrumental, divided into two CDs for a total of one hour and twenty of music at the same time enveloping and alienating, which represents yet another troubled journey into the maze of our psyche, a place where every individual hides the monster capable of generating weaknesses, fears and regrets, ultimately all the feelings that assail us at the precise moment when we try to ask us some questions just deeper than the routine of our daily lives. “Nausea is Existence revealing itself – and Existence is not pretty to look at” wrote Sartre in his most famous novel, and Ataraxie, who quote their illustrious compatriot from the very title of the album, represent as best they could, through their music, the dismay that seizes an individual when he realises how his earthly passage is not only ephemeral but also insignificant, if evaluated from a universal point of view. For once I would prefer not to deal with this work track by track in a traditional way: L’Etre et La Nausée must be experienced by the listener in its entirety and with the appropriate dedication; Ataraxie indulge in very few concessions or melodic openings and precisely for this reason, when this happens, they assume even more value within the album. But if you have the patience and tenacity to devote several hours of your time to listening, you will find that your first favourite track will be replaced by another the next time; so, if the first time you will love the opener Procession Of The Insane Ones for its ability to be terribly heavy even in its acoustic phases, then it will be Face The Loss Of Your Sanity to enchant you for its deeply death soul, then it will be the turn of Dread The Villains, which in just eleven minutes reveals an ideal synthesis of the skills of the quartet of Rouen, ending up then to enjoy the exhausting beauty of the endless Nausée. Like their compatriots Monolithe, Ataraxie, partially freeing themselves from the usual compositional schemes, have given their career a decisive turn that will allow them to enter by right in the elite of doom metal.

2013 – Weird Truth Productions / XenoKorp