‘When Death Comes’
Released: December 2014
Slow, bleak and occasionally spectacular, Aphonic Threnody’s debut full-length release ‘When Death Comes’ is a muscular chunk of lumbering funeral doom. Relentlessness might be the album’s primary weapon, but there are also moments of high drama and delightful instrumentation.
Fans of the genre might consider ‘When Death Comes’ to be a quintessential example of hypnotising quality, while doubters might suggest that it’s a somewhat long-winded misery-orgy. True, there are passages where the chord progressions are a bit simplistic and the music doesn’t try very hard to impress (such as on the largely uneventful ‘Death Obsession’). But elsewhere there is subtlety and sophistication, and it’s all delivered with impeccable style and elegance.
Aphonic Threnody (roughly: voiceless lamentation) were formed in 2012 by Riccardo Veronese of UK doom torturers Gallow God. Following a demo and two splits, ‘When Death Comes’ is an impressively global collaboration, featuring musicians from across Europe and prestigious guests from top doom outfits such as Esoteric and Shape Of Despair. Despite the distance between band members, the recordings sound tight and together, and the songs maintain a high level of energy, aided by solid production.
Aphonic Threnody decorate their mournful death/doom with gently-tickled keyboards and lovingly-caressed cellos. There are epic undertones and hints of majesty throughout the album, although they are rarely explored to the full. The vocal melodies, too, initially promise to be intriguing but for the most part are merely touched upon.
With five songs, each measuring approximately a month, there are plenty of opportunities for creativity to glow through. The well-judged moments of quietude that appear throughout ‘The Children’s Sleep’, for example, demonstrate the band’s ability to create layers of aural emotion, while ‘Dementia’ is a (comparatively) frisky composition that injects life into the slow, deathly parade. The final track wraps it up perfectly: unhurried, regal, classic funeral doom that gives voice to the endless sorrows of life.