Release Date: April 22, 2011
Virginia’s gloom and doom metal heroes, While Heaven Wept, return with a new album, Fear Of Infinity. Unlike previous album’s this one did not take 5 years to arrive. Only two years since the release of Vast Oceans Lachrymose the guys have put together another excellent chapter in their two decade plus history.
Main man Tom Phillips has always had a clear vision of his music and what he wants WHW records to sound like. He has been very exacting with each passing record and Fear Of Infinity is no exception. The production is grand and atmospheric, and the album is full of epic sweeps and melancholy moments. In short, everything you expect from a WHW album.
Yet, with each album WHW expands upon their sound and style. With Fear of Infinity the band has included more uptempo moments while also reaching back into their past to bring back a feel reminiscent of their debut, Sorrow Of The Angels. While rooted in the ‘doom’ genre, this record has elements of black metal in places and flows with numerous progressive and power metal highlights throughout.
Let it first be said that no While Heaven Wept album can be truly appreciated upon first listen. WHW is a band of nuance, and like many of its best works, Fear Of Infinity requires repeated listening to be fully appreciated for its emotive beauty. The listener must be immersed.
The seven songs that make up this new aural journey are dark, often angsty passages, through which we all must pass to discover our core. Phillips has a gift for touching upon our inner anguish by allowing his own to bleed out through his music.
The album leads off with the progressive/power vibe of “Hour Of Reprisal”, which features amazing vocal work by Rain Irving, and hammers away with the underpinning of black metalesque rapid fire drumming.
This flows neatly into “Destroyer Of Solace” with it’s incredible riff and beautiful vocal harmonies.
“Obsessions Now Effigies” returns us to the vast heaviness and doom WHW is renowned for. A prodigious track of weighty emotion: “My love is just a ghost…”
After the ethereal acoustic rendering of “Unplenitude” we dive into the epic and dispirited odyssey that is “To Grieve Forever”.
With “Saturn And Sacrifice” we are returned to the band’s trademark doomy atmosphere. The opening riff for some reason recalls for me a classic Rush sound.
For the While Heaven Wept uninitiated, just sit back, close your eyes and open your mind. Perhaps begin with the album’s closing opus, aptly titled, “Finality”. Arguably one of the band’s best songs to date. My first mental image in listening to this track was of a man sinking to the ocean’s depths, arm raised toward the surface in surrender and escape.
For the initiated, Fear Of Infinity is another “must own” disc of sonic brilliance. One of 2011’s epic masterpieces.