- cat. number
- Slow Transcending Agony
- Release Date
- June 29th 2015
- 1,000 copies
1st album of French doom/death originally released in 2005. It has been out of print for a long time, but after a decade from its original release, it's reissued as a digi-CD with bonus track(the cover of diSEMBOWELMENT's The Tree of Life And Death). This bonus track is the first official studio recording with 3 guitars lineup. In short, their music is doom/death. They combines crushing heavy doomed riffs and intense blast beats, in addition there are a lot of catchy emotional melodies. Their agony is slowly transcending the ages and the earth will be doomed again!
1. Astep Into The Gloom
2. Funeral Hymn
4. Slow Transcending Agony
5. Another Day Of Despondency
6. The Tree of Life and Death(diSEMBOWELMENT cover)
French doom/death veteran Ataraxie. It was a decade ago when Weird Truth released their 1st album “Slow Transcending Agony”. Finally, it’s reissued in its 10th anniversary year, which had been out of issue for a long time. This time, I did the interview with their guitar player Frédéric.
Please tell us the history of Ataraxie briefly.
Ataraxie was founded in the fall of 2000 by Jo, after the split of a black metal band he shared with Pierre. He had been listening to Doom-Metal for quite some time, and wanted to play this music. At the time, this genre was hardly practiced in France. All the members of Ataraxie were buying CDs at the same small metal record shop in our town, and the owner soon helped Jo gather musicians that had close musical tastes to him. There was one line-up change when I arrived in mid-2001, replacing Clément, a guitarist that was more interested in black metal rather than playing Doom.
From 2001 to early 2003, we mainly played the “local” circuit and composed our first songs, that were quite brutal at the time. We were in a “brutal metal” environment in our city, and it took a little time to “dare” becoming a real doom/death band… In the beginning of 2003, we released our first demo, “The Other Path”, and it helped us to get our first gigs out of our country, in front of “doom-metal” audiences.
Our style continued to evolve and in 2004, we were able to record “Slow Trancending Agony” in a professional studio. Shortly after we finished mixing it, we received an offer from Weird Truth to sign on the label, and in june 2005, our first album was released.
From that time on, we shared our time between composition and live gigs, which allowed us to release Anhédonie (2008) and L’Être et La Nausée (2013), and play in many countries through Europe mainly and sometimes big festivals.
In the beginning of 2014, Sylvain decided to leave the band, lacking of time to do things properly with us. We took a few weeks to recruit a proper replacement, and in fact, two guitarists were really standing out from the people we tried to play with… And at the end we decided not to choose and go for a three guitars line-up! We’re currently in the process of writing our next album.
There had been almost no lineup changes in Ataraxie until Sylvain left the band in 2014. For the most of the bands, it’s really hard to keep the same lineup for such a long time. What is the keys to that?
I think there are several factors that can explain that. The most important in my opinion being that we primary serve the music, not our egos. When Jimmy Page tells that Led Zeppelin was musically more than a sum of individuals, I totally understand what he means… Ataraxie is an entity that is more than the sum of our individualities; it’s something of is own that we built altogether for 14 years. And this creature is still evolving.
We also play in other music projects, which in my opinion is also a great way to never feel artistic frustration when it comes to Ataraxie.
Now, Ataraxie has 3 guitar players. How does this expand the horizon of Ataraxie’s music?
We really kicked our asses off when we decided to become a 3 guitar players band. We’ve spending a bit more than one year in this configuration, and the first thing we’ve done was to rearrange our existing songs to fit this new approach. It really brings a whole new world in terms of dynamics and harmonies : when we are playing unison parts, it really adds way more weight to the music. We can also lay melodies without the rhythm parts sound weaker, and bring whole new colours when we are playing harmonies. I can state that at our first rehearsals, I did a lots of mistakes, because I was so much excited in the rediscovery of these songs I was sometimes playing for more than a decade, that I even forgot to focus on my playing!
Now the new challenge is to write songs directly for this configuration. We already have a couple of songs in the making, but I cannot tell more for the moment ;)
Let’s go back to the old days. Ataraxie’s 1st album “Slow Transcending Agony” was released back in 2005. How was the response at that time? And are there any anecdotes during the recording?
We released the album at the end of june, and got the first responses from the press at the autumn. And not only the response was good overall, but often we were reading that this album was a true masterpiece. Soon we received more and more offers to play gigs, in countries we never visited before. It seems that still nowadays, our fans consider it to be our masterpiece, which I find something a bit strange, because I’d say that Ataraxie finally got rid of its obvious influences in the next album ,“Anhédonie”, which was not as well received.
The recording session for “Slow Transcending Agony” were the first we spent in a real professional studio. We recorded in Belgium, with Kris Beleaen, who taught us a lot within a few days… We had a really short amount of time, but it turned out to be a great experience. I remember one funny anecdote about this recording : After we recorded the drums, we laid down the guitar tracks. Then, it was Jo’s turn to record the bass. As we laid down two guitar tracks each, when Jo finished his first pass, he asked “don’t we double track the bass?”. Kris amusingly replied: “Do you think you are Jo de Maio?”, which made us laugh to tears… because Jo is a huge Manowar fan!
For the reissue of “Slow Transcending Agony”, you recorded “The Tree of Life and Death” of diSEMBOWELMENT. This is the first official recording with 3 guitars lineup. How was the recording?
From my point of view, intense! This time, I’ve been recording all the guitar and bass parts, as well as producing most of the recording.
Since Kris from the Worship studio has moved of place since we recorded “L’Être et la Nausée”, we had to find and validate a new recording method, that we’ve been experimenting on this very title. So, it is basically the same team as on “L’être et la nausée” managing the recordings and mixdown, ie Kris, Sylvain Biguet and I, except that Sylvain and I had the task to track down every musician on this recording. So, we found a nice place in the countryside so as to record drums, and except for vocals, we recorded all the other instruments in my personal studio. Sylvain then mixed the tracks in his professional studio, with Kris as a producer giving some directions. Then we all three made adjustements, with the rest of the band validating, until the final result was totally satisfying to us.
I think the overall session is successful; we’ll probably reconduct this working method on the next Ataraxie album. In terms of musical performance, this is in my opinion a good example of what our new line-up is capable of. If you know well the original song, you’ll notice we added a lot of elements, thanks to the third guitar, that brings new colours to the song. It’s a good hint on what you can expect from us from the future. And an exciting way to cover a song, in my opinion :)
Please tell us about your live performances. You’ve played in some big fest like Kill Town Death Fest, Motocultor Festival etc... What is the most memorable gig for you?
Over the years, we’ve had very memorable moments for various reasons… It’s very hard to pick one, there’s a whole different story behind each memories. Now, If I have to choose one, I’ll pick the Killtown Death Fest, because it was such an incredible human experience, as well as one of the best ever festivals I played in. We were all these musicians from all over the world, staying in the same place, sharing good time altogether and mutually respecting each other. All bands had the same playing time, whenever they would play, and treated the same. We played a very intense gig, with one of the best sounds we ever had. I really feel blessed I could play this very one festival.
Any last words for the doomed ones in Japan?
“Arigato gosaimasu”! We really hope we are able to travel this far and play a few gigs with some of the excellent bands, such as Anatomia, Coffins or Funeral Moth over there!