Featuring members of Arrant Saudade, Towards Atlantis Lights, and Dea Marica, and with guests from many other bands, including Alunah, Mournful Congregation, and My Shameful, before you even press play it seems apparent that there’s little chance of Of Loss and Grief falling flat on its face. And, when you do finally press play, you’re instantly rewarded with such a wall of loss and grief, (the secret to this album is in its title), that it’s hard not to succumb to hopelessness.
This is a colossal 73-minute journey into darkness, travelling with the band through crushing soundscapes of emotional distress and internal ruin. Of Loss and Grief revels in creating huge depressive soundscapes full of feelings of loss, woe, and tragedy.
Although certainly of the funeral doom genre in many ways, this is actually a richer and more diverse listen than many such releases. This is partly down to the aforementioned guests helping to flesh out the band’s sound, but also partly down to the songcraft on display here too. Aphonic Threnody merge their funeral doom with elements of the old-school UK doom metal scene from the 90s, with My Dying Bride in particular holding sway over certain parts of the lengthy songs. All of this results in music that has a rich depth to it, both in songwriting and delivery.
Slow and heavy, moving with glacial intent and despondent allure, the songs gradually unfold into dark hymns to mourning and death. Richly sombre leads and layers of keyboards increase the emotive impact of the songs as they work their way through your emotional defences, dragging you down out of the light into the band’s underground world of loss and pain. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not called funeral doom for no reason.
Of Loss and Grief is the type of album that many listen to despite its inherent negativity, finding a certain level of empowerment in its darkness and aural portrayals of the negative aspects of life. Aphonic Threnody are very effective at what they do, and the grim soundscapes that they both craft and explore are worth visiting with the band over and over again.