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Aphonic Threnody : First Funeral

The four tracks of Aphonic Threnody's first EP all display power, elegance and a sense of details and an expert craftsmanship.

This “Aphonic Threnody” project has been cooking up for some time but somehow, having sworn an oath of silence and being hexed by my eminence grise up until now, I had to shut the hell up. Londonmancers had predicted its imminent arrival like the apocalypse, according to Giordano Bruno, and the magery noise was as high as it could get until it had to spill out.

Well-known veterans congregated to give form to this new beast. Riccardo V, of Dea Marica and Gallow God fame, enchanting both bass and guitar with his now-trademark riffing, joined in this unholy alliance by Roberto M, vocalist in both Dea Marica and Urna, Kostas, the pan-omni-magus key player of all things doom, Abel, a Prokofiev's Peter without the wolf, and Marco Z, drumming ghoul of Urna and other obscure bands. With such forces of the dark brought together, Aphonic Threnody were bound to draw some attention in dedicated circles.

First Funeral, their first tome of the occult, will please followers of both Funeral Doom and Doom Death Metal. Combining the Traditional elements of Magick with the more extreme schools of thought has certainly been one of Gallow God’s many attributes, but the spell here has been reversed with an acute presence of more extremists compared to that of the fundamentalists. Roberto, who had already turned demon in Dea Marica’s latest offering, really surprised me with his proficiency in gutturality whereas his softer side had left me quite unchallenged in the past. To his credit, the cleaner vocals featured on 'The Threnody', the opening track of 'First Funeral', sounded much better than those found on Dea Marica’s debut, 'Ritual of the Banished'.

The four tracks – five for some 50 select doomed souls – all display power, elegance and a sense of details and craftsmanship that clearly show that these magi are not your average amateur spell casters. All above the nine-minute mark, these tracks envelop, plunge and chisel their listeners with cruel beauty that binds and tears at the same time. Though rather similar in their modus operandi, Aphonic Threnody never fail to keep you interested and hooked onto the next riff or bridge. With the added presence of Kostas and Abel, the music never seems dull or poor and both performers have enough magicka to support the music rather than to drown it in superfluous waters. Although Riccardo’s guitar is just about unique, it is hard not to draw some similarities with last year’s 'The Stars Would Not Awake You' by Tempestuous Fall. Or maybe it only appears so because both bands have achieved Doom Death purity without sounding either overwhelmingly raw or 'Hello Poshgoth Kitty'.

Last but not least, praise should be made in honour of Marco Z, who, you will see, seems to be the legit heir of Rick Miah. Gentle whenever he needs to be, upbeat when he has to carry the music to new heights and with the characteristic fills of the long forgotten hero. Miah was indeed My Dying Bride’s first drummer and probably the best one they ever had. Technique was just a plus, but he could feel his instrument in a way few people do. Let us worship him through Marco now. And what better than to end this 'First Funeral' with one of the most creative dirges ever released?

Unfortunately this will only apply to those lucky 50 few previously mentioned, since the limited edition of First Funeral will also feature a cover of My Dying Bride’s 'Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium'. This early track was featured first on the 'Towards the Sinister' demo and then re-recorded for the release of the eponymous EP (and now available on the 'Trinity' CD). I should be praising this cover because it reminds me of the My Dying Bride I fell in doom with, also because it is a complex track with more than one time signature and simply because of its epic brilliance. Somehow though, despite the rest of the EP emanating serious bouts of greatness, I found this cover cheaply done. First, it peaks at an unnecessary 14 minutes (where the original was either 8 or 11 minutes long, in the demo and the EP respectively), then Roberto simply does not have adequate gutturals when compared to Aaron’s more “metallic” delivery. With Abel and Kostas on board with them, I would also have expected more My Dying Bride-like sounds but they actually chose to go the opposite direction and stripped 'Symphonaire' to its bare essentials. That’s obviously me being too enamoured with what I consider a classic among classics and rejecting some (probably) welcome novelty in its treatment but I’m too old to mend my ways now.

Despite the Bride incident, 'First Funeral' should enchant and convert the hordes of Doom followers out there. It is classy and inspired, beautiful and yet stricken, and ferociously musical. As the name implies, it is only a first funeral, and since death always prevails in the end, I am confident we will soon be invited to more funereal activities.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Threnody
2. Eyes' Light Faded Away
3. Life Calls Death
4. Hollow

Bonus track (Limited CD only)
5. Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium (My Dying Bride cover)

Duration : Approx. 38 minutes (52 minutes with bonus)

Visit the Aphonic Threnody bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-07-22 by Frédéric Cerfvol
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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