Pelican's 'Ataraxia/Taraxis' EP: A post-metal triumph in four tracks

A review of Pelican's 'Ataraxia/Taraxis' EP. Check this EP out!
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Here I am going to review Ataraxia/Taraxis, an EP (extended play) by the American post-metal band Pelican, which I discovered while looking up facts about the band called Ataraxia.
The tasty EP in question was released on April 10, 2012, through Southern Lord Records, and it is quite good. The EP consists of four tracks and has a total duration of around 18 minutes (well, unless you consider the Japanese version, which has bonus tracks, which might make that version more of a full album).

Here's a breakdown of the tracks:


– This track starts the EP with atmospheric guitar work, gradually building up in intensity. It's characterized by Pelican's trademark heavy, instrumental sound, featuring dynamic shifts and intricate guitar melodies. Granted, I still don't know quite what "post-metal" is (or post-punk or post-rock, for that matter), but that doesn't matter as I just let the sounds wash over me. On that note, I detect some psychedelic influences here.

"Lathe Biosas"

– This song continues in a similar vein as the first track, with heavy riffs and tasty arrangements. It showcases Pelican's ability to create expansive soundscapes and blend elements of post-metal with elements of post-rock (and again, I don't even quite know what that means, which is fine...).

"Parasite Colony"

– The mood shifts slightly with this track, which features a more aggressive and driving rhythm. It's characterized by pounding drums and distorted guitars, showcasing a slightly heavier side of Pelican's sound on this EP.


– The EP concludes with the title track, which is a bit more atmospheric and subdued compared to the previous tracks. It features intricate, slightly jarring guitar melodies and a more reflective mood, providing a fitting conclusion to the EP.

Final thoughts on Ataraxia/Taraxis

This album adequately demonstrates Pelican's versatility as a band, blending elements of post-metal, post-rock, and ambient music to create a captivating listening experience. It's fitting for a band that said: "As the band has progressed, everything’s been a lot more open." One thing I like about the sounds compiled here: You don't need to pay full attention to enjoy the music, but if you do pay attention, you'll probably feel immersed quite easily.

Critics don't always get it right, but this EP eceived positive reviews from both fans and critics, further solidifying Pelican's reputation as one of the leading bands in the instrumental post-metal genre. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on 7 reviews.

I feel like the pale, chiming shoegaze drones and faintly veiled industrial din never get very old. I only stop listening to this sort of music for variety's sake. It's also interesting that Ataraxia/Taraxis by Pelican is accessible material that could enjoy more mainstream support.

If there is any occasional drifting (something the genre's known for), it is not jarring enough to weigh the proceedings down; instead, it lends texture and depth to each song's melodramatic surges. It is a consistent, heavy-hitting EP and, even though I don't have a rating's system, I will award Ataraxia/Taraxis a "highest-possible rating," and declare the album to be, at times, a f**king headbangin' triumph, when it's not more calmly pensive and moody.

Trevor de Brauw – guitar
Bryan Herweg – bass
Larry Herweg – drums
Laurent Schroeder-Lebec – guitar

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