It’s probably just a coincidence, but it’s impossible not to notice that two of the best doom albums of the year come from solo projects by as many English musicians, both keyboardists in what has until now been their main band; indeed, while Mark Deeks, who stunned a few months ago with his debut under the name Arð, is part of the blacksters Winterfylleth, Simon Bibby, the creator of this first album by Thy Listless Heart, has for several years been Ian Arkley’s partner first in Seventh Angel and then in My Silent Wake. The parallels between Take Up My Bones and Pilgrims on the Path of No Return continue if one takes into consideration the unparalleled emotional charge of both works, even if, beyond the common doom matrix, the style offered differs not a little. Here, Bibby exhibits a stentorian and evocative vocal style, only sometimes reinforced by the growl of guests such as Arkley himself, Sergio Gonzalez Catalan (Rise to the Sky) and Greg Chandler (Esoteric), the latter also involved in the recording phase, while the sound texture takes on sorrowful but at the same time epic connotations, approaching more the classic side of doom rather than the extreme one. The result is seven songs full of pathos and attention to detail, in which Simon takes care of all the instruments except the drums; The Precipice and Yearning are songs that leave their mark at first listening, being endowed with an immense evocative potential, but after several passages two other magnificent rides not dissimilar in structure such as As the Light Fades and Confessions, without forgetting the liturgical When the Spirit Departs the Body, the rarefied Aefnian (in which the female voice is that of Alana, Bibby’s daughter) and the long closing represented by the splendid The Search for Meaning emerge in all their beauty. Pilgrims on the Path of No Return is a work that springs from a spontaneous expression that does not always find its natural outlet, especially when the author is not one of the best known names on the scene and the genre does not have a great commercial appeal; for this reason, too, the far-sightedness of Hammerheart Records in having given credit to the inspiration of the talented Simon Bibby should be emphasized.

2022 – Hammerheart Records