Aphonic Threnody is one of the best examples anyone can use when referencing funeral doom. One of the reasons for that is their ability to respectfully navigate any boundaries established by the masters who’ve inspired them and still explore outside the lines. As a result, in just under a decade, guitarist and Aphonic mastermind, Riccardo Veronese has produced some of the very best funeral doom ever recorded.
The Loneliest Walk, the band’s fifth full-length release, is an outright monster. With a run time of nearly two and a half hours, the album’s length certainly contributes to the colossus. With funeral doom, length is implied, expected, and unquestionably welcome in most cases. A potential challenge for a listener, however, is sitting with the material for as long as it takes to absorb the feelings being expressed.
This sort of heaviness – extravagant, reserved, fatalistic, graceful – is a conclave of emotion. Experienced on a spectrum, an artist succeeds with a willingness to share openly and truthfully. And Aphonic Threnody can always be counted on for that.
This weight is present on each track, making the release of singles both more difficult for Riccardo and more important for the listener. Two (“The Sun Will Never Rise,” and “Condemnation”) have been released. The third, “A Worthless Life,” is being presented to you all for the first time right now.
Courtesy of Riccardo Veronese.
“The events that shaped this album are so huge that I just had to get them out of me somewhere or somehow.”Riccardo Veronese, Aphonic Threnody
So much is happening in that thirteen minutes and fourteen seconds. The dynamics interlace with the structure of the song so seamlessly, that the music is able to stay one step ahead. Each instrument balanced well in both production and performance, resulting in a wildly confident soundworld cloaked with crippling ethereal uncertainties. The importance of “A Worthless Life” as it relates to The Loneliest Walk seems obvious, but I couldn’t help but wonder how it got that way.
Vuk: The song is extremely dynamic. I would love to hear more about how you layered things. The blending of sounds.
Riccardo Veronese: Thank you. I was careful at first on this song because sometimes you can follow a pattern like on other songs with clean, then heavy, and so on. I wanted it to almost feel like two songs within one. Like a complete change in the structure, sounds, and tempo. The sounds also were very important to get right and layer the heavier parts correctly. Overall I really enjoyed this song and Rob’s vocals really added an extra dynamic to the process.
Vuk: The guitars. We touched on this with your last album, but this time around… well, with both you and Justin playing, the sound is massive! Would love to hear more about your collaboration as guitarists.
Riccardo: I’m extremely happy with the guitars this time. Me and Justin really feed off one another and it’s just so nice for me to find someone who understands Aphonic’s style. It was my decision this time around to record all the rhythm guitars, clean, and some leads on proper amps. I recorded all this in my studio live with amps and microphones positioned throughout different takes. Justin’s parts were played through his DI box and I edited and played around with his different takes. But the sound I managed to create with it all, and get the mixing in such a good place? It turned out brilliantly.
Vuk: Your bass playing stands out in this song. Layered spectacularly, like all of the instruments, but so integral to the end result. Tell me a little more about your approach to the bass.
Riccardo: Well, like the guitar, I’m self-taught on the bass and I normally just do one or two takes. Bass for me is a really fast process. I seem to just be able to listen once and nail it. The melodies seem to just flow out of me and I think the bass paints its own picture within each song. I added a bit more distortion to the bass on this album as well.
Vuk: The placement of the track. What is its significance? And what is the significance of the order in which you released the singles?
Riccardo: Each song tells its own story, but yes, they are in a certain order. The album is essentially about my life over a period of horrible, horrific events that really changed my life. So as you will see, each song has its own artwork which is hand-drawn and relates to each song.
The events that shaped this album are so huge that I just had to get them out of me somewhere or somehow. When you’re so close to giving up and killing yourself, you only have limited time to change it all. The darkness has somewhat eased with the release of this output on The Loneliest Walk. I hope it may give people, and fans of our music, some inspiration, and insight into finding some kind of balance. I’m happy I’m still here and that life may get brighter for me.
A WORTHLESS LIFE
I opened my arms to welcome you in
Only betrayal, a life full of sin
I’m so sick of these wasteful thoughts
Every battle inside I bled and fought
I drank deeply from a dark well
It pulled me under to a new hell
Cast aside all that I believed
Why had I always underachieved
My hands showed a bleak history
Of stories coated in dark mystery
Longing to find a place to hide
Someone to love by my side
Follow me into oblivion
Across oceans to my fallen kin
The stars guide the chosen way
To the forgotten wherever they lay
When I first crawled out of that hole
The sun burnt my unclean soul
A hopeless witness to a worthless life
A wretched man with a worthless life
A face that no longer resembles who I was
I fear walking alone to be so afraid of a future unknown
The rain runs red over my eyes
As the whole world burns blood
The end is so close
A wretched man with a worthless life