Aphonic Threnody - Of Loss and Grief - (8.5/10)
Published on December 26, 2017
Formed in 2012, the multi-national band Aphonic Threnody has not been quiet in the realm of releases. Already having three split releases, an EP and now a second full-length, the band has not shown any desire to stay dormant. Over the last few years, the band has been creating melancholic and heavy funeral doom/death doom of some really high quality. The groups newest record, aptly titled Of Loss and Grief came out back in October 2017, and has held up well in a year of strong music. The signature sounds of funeral doom are all in place, and the emotion runs high over these six tracks.
From the get go of the album, the slow piano laden intro should let you know exactly what you are getting into, when coupled with the album title and expressive but simple cover art. Once the rest of the band kicks in, it is very clear what you should be expecting. The slow and plodding drums work wonders with the heavy and molasses like riffing. There is a definite vibe the album is giving you, one of utter despair, but there is something very appealing and enthralling about it all. The bass is adding in the perfect layer to the mix, and the melodic bits of keyboard and piano add in a perfect touch of lightness. No matter how heavy the guitars and drums get, the underlying melody always gives some sense of hope and break up the pummeling melancholy.
Vocally, the album has plenty of grief (for lack of a better word) and makes for a really captivating listen. The deep growls are impressive and command attention but do not come across as too monotone or grating during these tracks. Funeral Doom can run the risk of sounding far too similar to itself track after track but these guys do a good job crafting songs and music that can differentiate itself from song to song. Even the length of the tracks works perfectly here, as giving the longest of the songs at the start and around the middle of the album surely showcase the weight of the band, but allow the shorter songs to act as a slight buffer if you will between them. As odd as that may seem, given the band’s constant pursuit of despondency, there is something nice about not having each and every track break come close to the 15-minute mark or more.
That being said though, a real highlight and focal point of the album comes in the longest track, “Lies”. Giving the listener a bit of everything the band has to offer, the near 20-minute track breezes by and creates some truly haunting moments. The clean vocals used in the track are bright, and beautiful, which are the perfect fit against the acoustic guitars and gorgeous piano work throughout the first part of the track. As the song builds to the heavier sections, the tension feels real and shows that these guys are great song writers. The flow of the track is commendable and the back and forth with the heavier and slower sections feels natural. The band shows they can work well within the more confined structure of an eight minute piece, or going all out over 19 plus minutes.
Aphonic Threnody are a band that clearly have a good head on their shoulders. Their love of the genre feels real, and their execution is top-notch. The interplay of instruments is a big piece of the music, and the band does not falter on this aspect. Instead of trying to focus too much on one side of the coin, the band juxtaposes the heavy and the soft perfectly, and in the meantime makes songs that build reach their climax at the perfect moments. Nothing feels rushed, and there is clearly a lot of passion behind these performances. 2017 has given us some great funeral doom, and while this album may not quite top a few of those, Of Loss and Grief should be experienced by any fan of the genre. Haunting and depressive, while being memorable and crushing, Aphonic Threnody have really hi the nail on the head for excellent death doom in the current landscape.