Sunday, April 22, 2012

Album Review: Pelican - Ataraxia/Taraxis

Album Rating: B-
Post-metal icon Pelican has been in a bit of a downward spiral since 2005's The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, with the band struggling to remain relevant in a genre that has since stagnated.  To be fair, the last two outings were not expressly bad, but rather, tepid displays of lacking ingenuity.  The announcement of a brand new EP was welcome news, as Pelican has always flourished under the extended play format.  After all, 2009's Ephemeral was the last "great" release by the band; a truly fun and energetic piece of music that saw the band return to its roots.

Ataraxia/Taraxis is not like Ephemeral, and that's exactly why it's such a success.

This little EP is a great listen from start to finish, simply because it is Pelican expanding its horizons.  Whether the band is sucking off the ISIS teet, or playing things a little too close to "uninspired post-rock" territory, Pelican can't always seem to get it right.  Here, however, the band certainly has.  Ataraxia/Taraxis is full of incredible and tasteful experimentation; a return to the heavy, but with a much higher sense of creativity.  It is a playful blending of early era Pelican, and Explosions in the Sky Pelican.  There's a dense crushing atmosphere, but with the subtle highs and lows reminiscent of their 2005 classic.  "Lathe Biosas" opens things up as the first full song on the EP, and features the aformentioned heaviness.  What makes it a winner is the lack of stale tricks, such as builds and climaxes.  It merely chuggs along with a deliberate pace and features some of the best instrumentals of the band's career.

Ataraxia/Taraxis is a winner for a band that desperately needed one.  While it doesn't reinvent the wheel, it goes a long way in proving that Pelican has some fight left.

1. Ataraxia
2. Lathe Biosas
3. Parasite Colony
4. Taraxis

No comments:

Post a Comment