While Heaven Wept have always been lugged with the doom metal tag, in particularly exploiting the sub-genre’s more epic side since their formation in 1989. But despite a longstanding existence, Fear Of Infinity is only their fourth full-length studio album.
Regularly disrupted by numerous line-up changes and tweaks in direction, Tom Phillips remains the sole remaining founder and creative driving force of the US act. With this new record released just two-years after the critically acclaimed Vast Oceans Lachrymose, the talented multi-instrumentalist has demonstrated that While Heaven Wept can whip together a number of genres with confidence and essentially morph a unique entity of sorrow and dejection.
If the ‘doom’ association puts you off, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s just as much power metal, symphonic soundscapes and tinges of classic prog to appease your ears. But if the broad affiliation with the aforementioned category is something that generates the extreme ‘opposing poles on a magnet’ effect and you’re expecting the genre’s purities then it’s likely that you may want to give it a miss.
Having said that, it can be understood just why people call this type of music ‘epic doom’, certainly after listening to the opening to Obsessions Now Effigies which is arguably WHW at their best. A backdrop of keyboard choir is subtle but beautiful behind some huge, slow riffs and minimalist sections of lead guitar picking that demonstrate just what it takes to create a pleasurable listen without focusing too eagerly on overly excessive work.
Unplentitude follows up with it’s acoustic nature, serene piano and emotional harmonies to emanate the serene yet melancholic atmosphere that best typifies the band. To Grieve Forever is the soft, weeping ballad of the record that runs like treacle, being ever so sweet, but flowing very slowly – and for a song that is more than six minutes, its length can be its only criticism.
Finality draws the album to a close, but only after seven minutes of its blissful, reflective aura gives way to a moderately paced structure chock with intense harmonising to finish an emotionally charged and epic album.