Aphonic Threnody, The Great Hatred review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Abandon all hope and embrace the infinite with the new album from Aphonic Threnody.

The band is Juan Escobar C. and Riccardo Veronese, and they have released three full-length albums (counting the new one – and four if you count First Funeral) along with several splits since 2013. The music is full fathom five Funeral Doom. Consider the name of the band – “aphonic” means not able to make sound (or only a whisper) and “threnody” is a song for the dead. In the music of Aphonic Threnody, there is a dirge supported by steady vocalizations, sometimes gruff, sometimes quietly melodic, sometimes gently spoken. The non-vocal parts shift from dramatic to stalwart, always conveying an inevitability.

Every song has a different depth of feeling and  perspective. The guitar in “The Great Hatred” is filled with indescribable sorrow that can only be understood in the listening, and the strings just after are a retelling in soaking sadness. The coarse vocals in “Drowning” are filled with frightening menace even as the piano is reassuring (although deterministic). “Locura,” which opens the album, is sheer hopelessness while the closing song, “The Fall,” has a more calculated thread of demise with uplifting moments that are nevertheless firmly set in the incontrovertible certainty of doom.

The compositions are carefully and deeply layered to create an immersive experience. The atmosphere is a preternatural inescapability and if the music does not provide comfort for the terminal subjects in their waning moments it does offer surety that the path is unalterable and that, in the absence of acceptance, there is only suffering. This album is going to be high on my 2020 Funeral Doom list. Recommended.

The Great Hatred is out now from Transcending Obscurity and through Bandcamp. Great bundles are available from the always-reliable Transcending Obscurity. Links below.

Links.

Band Bandcamp, https://aphonicthrenodydoom.bandcamp.com/

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/aphonic.threnody.5

Band YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/c/AphonicThrenody

TO website, https://tometal.com/

TO Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

TO US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Aphonic Threnody, The Great Hatred review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Ixion, L’Adieu aux Etoiles review (Finisterian Dead End 2020)

The fourth album from French Doom duo Ixion is a further exploration of sound, feeling, and meaning in the dark corners of existence.

Ixion is Julien Prat and Yannick Dilly. They have been releasing albums since 2011 in the vein of Atmospheric Doom, on the edge of Funeral Doom, really. Their most recent album is from 2017, Return, and it had a lighter feel to it in expression and tone compared to the first two albums. The new one sidles up to the dark side again taking the music on a deep space doom journey.

Ixion is the name of a king in Greek mythology that was condemned to spin on a “fiery wheel” for eternity for recalcitrant un-smiled-upon deeds. Traversing first in space and later in hell (Tartarus), Ixion is an icon of suffering. The firmament of this legend enhances the listening experience of L’Adieu aux Etoiles – I can see the burning wheel spinning in my mind while the music plays.

“Stellar Flight” is a somber traversing through the vacuum of time, and it is here the journey begins. All the primary elements are introduced from the enrichment of the dark forever to the melancholy of elegant doom. Throughout the album vocals both clean and corrupt wander the ethereal landscape of guitar and synthesizer. Occasional Prog sentiments appear but they do not stay long. There is a commitment to gloom and what sounds like either hopelessness or regret. Or both. The sorrow conveyed by the bowed string instruments on “Havoc” is elemental. The choir heard in the background of “The Black Veil” is beautiful, angelic, and sinister. Every texture has a surface feeling and a deeper layer, sometimes many, that bleed through the more you listen to them. The meaning is there if you want to know it. Recommended.

L’Adieu aux Etoiles is out on Friday, October 9th from Finisterian Dead End and available through Bandcamp. The back catalogue is on Bandcamp too for the committed.

Links.

Band, https://www.ixiondoom.com/

Bandcamp, https://ixion.bandcamp.com/

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ixiondoom

Finisterian Dead, https://finisteriandeadend.com/shop/en/29-ixion

Ixion, L’Adieu aux Etoiles review (Finisterian Dead End 2020)

Atramentus, Stygian review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

The debut album from Funeral Doom virtuosos Atramentus is called Stygian and it is a dark, nonpareil wonder.

Atramentus is from Longueuil, Québec, which is immediately east of Montréal across the river. If you are unfamiliar with the music scene in the beautiful Canadian city of Montréal you should acquaint yourself with the amazing variety of metal and the consistent quality of the bands.

It is worth listing the credits for the musicians in the band so you can get a sense of what sounds you will be hearing when you listen: Phil Tougas: throat, chants, screams, guitars; Claude Leduc: guitars; François Bilodeau: synths, piano, dark ambient elements; Antoine Daigneault: bass; and Xavier Berthiaume: drums. The basics you need for Doom are in there with the guitars and bass and drums, plus there are those others which surely contribute to the atmosphere such as well, “chants” and “dark ambient elements.”

The music is Funeral Doom, so you know it is ponderous and ominous. The album has three songs, two long pieces and a bridge (or chasm) piece sandwiched between. Here again let me list some information that clues you in to what the music is all about, the song titles: 1. Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth The Ceaseless Darkness), 2. Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream In The Doleful Embrace Of The Howling Black Winds), and 3. Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across The Perpetual Planes Of Crying Frost & Steel-Eroding Blizzards). The titles are like a libretto.

Each composition has its own separate theme and feel, while of course they are all dark and foreboding. Set on an alternate Earth, part of the story is, “Granted immortality through the gift of the God’s sword, the nameless knight eventually witnesses the death of the sun and the end of all life on Earth. Surviving the great deluge, he is left to wander amongst the ruins of a now frozen earth under a sunless sky for eternity, alone and unable to die even by the scorching-cold blizzard winds around him, enduring perpetual physical torture while haunted by the memories of his past life and everyone he once knew buried under miles of ice.” You can see this story in the song titles, and you can hear the progression of it in the music. Each entry carries the sentiment of the events that are occurring, the calamity of it all, and the crushing sense of loss and loneliness. And abandonment. Listening to this music requires openness and patience to appreciate fully, and it is well worth it. Recommended.

Available Friday, August 21 from 20 Buck Spin, there is the download plus many physical formats (although some of the vinyl variants are already sold out).

Links.

http://www.20buckspin.com

https://20buckspin.bandcamp.com/album/stygian

{An aside … if you are going to Heavy Montréal, here is a pro tip: stay in Longueuil because the hotels are cheaper than Montréal and it is only one Metro stop to Parc Jean-Drapeau from Station Longueuil – Universitié-de-Sherbrooke.}

Atramentus, Stygian review (20 Buck Spin 2020)