#ThyListlessHeart 🇬🇧 Pilgrims on the Path of no Return

4 min read

Band: Thy Listless Heart
Title: Pilgrims on the Path of no Return
Label: Hammerheart Records
Release date:  18 November 2022
Country: United Kingdom
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording 

Thy Listless Heart is the solo project of Simon Bibby, a man who has created a very special album with “Pilgrims on the Path of no Return”. It has a great atmosphere, epicness, an unbearable but at the same time beautiful sense of endless sorrow… a Doom Metal album with so many great elements that has reached my heart like only very few can do. I tend to do my reviews mostly based on the feelings I have while listening to the music, and I must say in advance that this one has moved a lot of things inside me, like a big turmoil.

Simon has mixed some of the most extremely sad and atmospheric melodies with lyrics talking about loss, grieving, sorrow, death, and has wrapped everything with his beautiful and melodic voice full of emotion. The tunes are mostly sad, and yet there are some triumphant moments, as if Simon was trying to say that there’s hope and beauty even in the darkest moments in life. Or at least that’s what it seems to me. 

“The Precipice” was the first song from the album that came out, and when I listened to it I recognised that something special was cooking there. The lyrics are touching, like addressed to that people who have hard inner struggles and may attempt suicide, telling them that it’s possible finding help trying to talk to someone. This song got me paralyzed since the first listen: the soft voice at the beginning, almost whispering, along with the spectral instrumentation, brings the listener to obscure places in one’s mind that’s better not visiting them. Then, when the song gets a bit of a more dynamic tone, Simon sings in a strong and extremely melodic voice and lyrics acquire a hopeful advice, even for those who seem to have lost all will to live. The melancholic piano notes, the dark guitar melodies, the choruses, the roaring deep growls that appear here and there, everything  is packed with pure beauty into a sorrowful yet full of hope message. It’s dark and at the same time it glows… Simon did something incredibly beautiful with this song. 

Every song on this album has its special halo, each of them is like an emotional journey into sorrow and pain, but as I said, there’s also beauty in these “dark” feelings. “As the Light Fades” opens with majesty and we must wait until a minute and a half has passed to hear the melodic and beautiful voice from Simon. It sounds very powerful in this first track, while the music catches you completely and has something hypnotic going on. Then it comes “The Precipice”, and “Yearning” follows with the special sound of a flute, conferring that song an extra amount of emotion that gives me goosebumps. And again, those brutal growls as a counterpoint to the soft and almost ethereal tunes.

“When the Spirit Departs the Body” is another masterpiece, for its fragile sound. Majestic choruses, some flutes again and a timpani as the only percussion. Guitar and piano play some of the most delicate melodies in this album, and when the uilleann pipes appear, that’s pure enchantment. The bell chiming at the end of this song makes it even more solemn…  Do you think it’s strange using these words for a Metal album? You just need to listen to it, then, and take your own conclusions! 

“Confessions” is sung in an emphatic way, again those choruses, and a fantastic guitar melody. “Aefnian” is very beautiful, mostly due to the low whistle sound and the female vocals, with a soft fading effect. Who sings here along with Simon is his daughter Alana, isn’t this sweet enough? And the last song of this album is “The Search for Meaning”, a 14 minute track made of so many shades. As the title states, the lyrics are about searching some meaning to the existence, with this passage that for me sums it all: 
“What is this life? Vanity all
A span of days we can’t recall  
What is this death?  The comfort of a friend
The search for meaning at the end”
Brilliant music, brilliant lyrics.

The guest musicians in this album are: 
Ben Griffiths – drums, percussion
Ian Arkley – guest vocals on “As the Light Fades”
Sergio Gonzalez Catalan – deep growls on “The Precipice”
Ella Zlotos – low whistles, uilleann pipes
Paul Jones – spoken part on “Confessions”
Greg Chandler – guest vocals ( and mixing/mastering )
Alana Bibby – female vocals on “Aefnian”

And a very special mention for the author of the cover art; for this album, Simon chose an impressive painting by Mariusz Lewandowski, who passed away in July this year. The title of this painting is “Survivors” and was painted in 2016, and honestly… I can’t think of other most fitting artwork. Nor to think of another sweeter tribute to Lewandowski.

Having said all that, my rating of this album is clear: it deserves a 10/10 from me. Sílvia

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10/10 Immortal Classic 
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