“Ataraxia” is derived from ancient Greek times, essentially meaning “A pleasure that comes when the mind is at rest.” While metal isn’t necessarily a genre usually considered to put the listener at ease, the introductory track of Pelican’s new EP does exactly that. It begins with an ominous synth and a lone acoustic guitar which leads into a Pink Floyd-esque keyboard rumination. It’s a remarkably effective way to entice and calm the listener, providing enough atmosphere to have you wondering where Pelican will go next.
The middle tracks of this four song release are the metal ones. “Lathe Biosas” locks into a typical sludge metal riff more reminiscent of Pelican’s usual style — heavy groove instrumentals well executed. It’s nothing spectacular, but it fits the bill. “Parasite Colony” features much of the same, a mid-tempo drawn out stoner jam that gets a bit repetitive by the end. One of the pitfalls of pure instrumental music is trying to keep things fresh and exciting, but the lack of any real enticing lead work makes the pounding riffs get monotonous by the end.
The mood shifts entirely again on “Taraxis,” a word I have not been able to define (thanks a lot, arts degree). It completes the calming book end of the EP, featuring primarily acoustic guitar work in moments of unsettling dissonance and interesting use of maracas and keyboard. This track and the opener are really the high points of the album.
Ataraxia/Taraxis achieves what Pelican wants it to: A short sample of what will most likely form the sound of the next full length. Bits of experimentation mixed with some tried and true concepts makes this EP a solid effort from the post-metal veterans.