In the pantheon of conceptual artistic works, Italy's Ataraxia have certainly had highly acclaimed releases but there has always been the traditionalistic medieval approach to assure the fans that their beloved trio have not completely abandoned their sound. They have decided to do exactly that with this new album "Paris Spleen". Musically, Ataraxia have more in common with another Italian act, GOR this time around. Incidentally, GOR is the project of Francesco Banchini, their former percussionist. The circle is now complete, it would seem. A neatly tied up album of maniacle overtures. If only it was that simple.

"Paris Spleen" came about due to a medium by the name of Josephine Corelli who was continually tormented by visions of a long-gone Parisian institution known as Circus Kump, a collective of deviants who, according to the tale, put on their theatre of the grotesque for only one night before vanishing completely. These visions commanded her to get in touch with Ataraxia, a band she knew nothing about but who were completely suited to channeling these long departed characters onto an album. The results speak for themselves.

Ataraxia are an outfit primarily known for their alienated, vitriolic sound courtesy of vocalist Francesca Nicoli's unique vocal range fortified by Vittorio Vandelli's precise yet historically resonant guitar work. For this outing, the orchestrations border on the monumental with violent flourishes of kettle drum thundering down the length and breadth of certain tracks and classical arrangements that will take your breath away with their delicate tapestries; the frailty of this album is its core, the tenuous level of detail twists and eddys out into the black luminous sea... this is Ataraxia possessed. Gone is the lilting wistful balladeering of their last few albums, it has been replaced by madness. An intoxicating mixture designed to confront and terrify, "Paris Spleen" showcases the beauty in chaos, the elixir of dark ideals which have always been with us, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.


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