Riccardo Veronese brings his Aphonic Threnody back into the limelight with their fifth full length, four of which in the last five years; the sound confirms the trend exhibited in the previous The All Consuming Void, released last year, namely the shift towards a form of funeral doom that is as dark as ever, though always denoted by a fundamental melodic fabric. Daniel Neagoe is no longer on vocals, but the return of the band’s co-founder and originary vocalist Roberto Mura, an absolute guarantee in this role, is to be welcomed; with the leader still to occupy of guitar and bass, Justin Buller is confirmed on the other guitar and Kostas Panagiotou on keyboards, while the further novelty is the presence of Australian J.S. Decline, author with his solo project Estrangement of an interesting demo in 2013, as a guest on drums and, in four tracks, on lead guitar. The Loneliest Walk is a work that is literally mammoth in size, being structured in a double format and reaching more than two and a half hours in duration; such characteristics certainly cannot frighten funeral doom fans who, on the contrary, have something to look forward to with such a quantity of material that is associated with such quality. Indeed, any doubts are dispelled by the two splendid opening tracks (Empathy and The Sun Will Never Rise), in which the mournful, slowed-down scores offer themselves as an ideal compendium of the subgenre, and everything that comes afterwards represents the consolidation of a sincere and convincing interpretation of the material. The sound of Aphonic Threnody seems to ideally sublimate itself with this album, in which a sense of sadness rather than despair emerges, a subtlety from which derive melodic openings that leave glimmers of hope, albeit in a context that is often tinged with darkness. Those who decide to devote more than two hours of their time to listening to The Loneliest Walk, obviously more than once, because this is not music that can be relegated to a superficial approach, know that will be a pleasure and not a sacrifice, as the immersion in the darkest meanderings of the psyche evoked by funeral doom can be gratifying like few other things for those who love such sounds. Personally, for what they have done in recent years, I consider Aphonic Threnody to be among the most credible interpreters of the subgenre, at least as far as bands that have emerged since the last decade are concerned.
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