Free From Worry
Chicago’s post-metal darlings Pelican have always occupied a strange place in “metal”. By the band’s own admission, the lack of a vocalist makes it quite difficult to pinpoint their sound, and allows them to occupy multiple genres at once, be it metal, stoner, ambient, or anything in between. So, for lack of a better term, let’s just call their newest EP Ataraxia/Taraxis, “good music”.
Opener “Ataraxia” is a peaceful landscape of acoustic guitars, chiming synths, and an ever-present wash of distortion. It should come as no surprise, then, that the title is a Greek concept meaning “freedom from worry.” The tranquility is quickly broken by “Lathe Biosas,” a heavy post-sludge rocker featuring Pelican’s signature wall of guitar melodies and slow-building interludes. “Parasite Colony” finds a balance between the first two tracks, mixing the soft with the severe and channeling a bit of Mastodon’s aquatic anguish in the process. Finally, “Taraxis” brings back the calmer side of things, incorporating shakers and indie-pop keyboards before opening the floodgates one more time and letting the sludge slide forth.
Pelican is a particular band, and that appeals to a particular crowd. Fans of the band thus far will not be disappointed by their latest effort, and fans of post-metal in general (especially Isis, a frequent Pelican ally) will want to check this out as well. Extreme metalheads may find Ataraxia/Taraxis a little too serene, but it does make a great “cool down” album. If you need to kick off your shoes while you throw your horns, Pelican is your band.