|Doom Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
May 3rd, 2011
Release length: 37:10
The band manages to perfectly weave Power Metal and Progressive Metal together through much of the album, bringing up shades of Kamelot to some of the heavily moving passages, though some tracks drop the Power Metal aspect for a bit in favor of a Doom Metal approach with shades of early Candlemass in their performance. “Hour of Reprisal” sets up the recording nicely with it’s strong Progressive passages coupled with Power Metal chords, heaviness, and vocal approach that is as moving as the song itself. The atmosphere of the track is rich with sorrow and beauty as the music takes on a heavier melody, or hammers away with some Progressive drum work through much of the main portions of the song with a great amount of energy and heaviness to the band and their instruments. But, for as moved as you will be on this song, “Destroyer of Solace” breaks into a classical Doom Metal approach with an old-school Heavy Metal feel, but still bares the teeth of the heavy and moving Progressive musicianship that “Hour of Reprisal” contains. While the beauty seems lost through much of the song, it’s all made up for with catchy music from start to finish and a strong performance by the band with the traditional clean singing that started off the album, except showing a little more soul behind it’s somewhat faster and technical composition. Of course this isn’t the only track that shows off the Doomey side of the band, as “Saturn and Sacrifice” takes on a more traditional version of the style, focusing more on having a heavier vibe to it that is more traditional to the style then the more epic and dramatic style referenced earlier with Candlemass.
The band’s epic compositions sound absolutely phenomenal, and really utilize the style’s to their full potential instead of just embracing some core ideas of Power or Doom Metal to tack it on in a vein attempt to sound unique. Each track on this release is it’s own experience, and never feels drawn out. In fact, sometimes the songs feel like the band is teasing you, giving you just enough to make you want more. “Destroyer of Solance” is one of these tracks, using the Doom Metal approach nicely, but that faster pace mentioned above causes the songto last two minutes forty seconds, and once it’s done you amost immediately want to go back to it with how much the atmosphere and emotion hooks you. But, for as heavy and epic as some of these tracks are, “Unplenitude” is perhaps the most impressive. The song is an acoustic piece that comes in at a normal length of three minutes twenty one seconds, something many Progressive acts would try to expand to the point of overkill, and is composed of an acoustic guitar and pianos. The pianos are simply beautiful and work with the singer’s voice, which has been layered a few times to make it sound richer, which it does. The guitar sounds great as well, being a little different from the background piano, and with that higher pitch working along with the mid-range pitched vocals, not quite deep but not quite that high that it would match the chords being played, the song just sounds spectacular and becomes not only one of the more impressive tracks on the recording, but also one of the most impressive acoustic pieces one may hear within the style itself thanks to the power and beauty of everything working in such harmony.
The entire set of the first six tracks go off so smoothly, and executed so well, that they all seem to fly righty by despite the album lasting thirty seven minutes. You’ll be so wrapped up in the powerful music of the album and rich atmospheres that the entire release will seem to be at an end quicker then you could think. However, “Finality” rings in the closing of the album, and it shows the more time-oriented aspect of the Progressive style is far from forgotten by the band, clocking in at just over eleven minutes in length. Sadly, this becomes one of the more generic tracks for the style, losing the epic, powerful, beautiful, even moving edges to the music. The song does gradually pick up with some epic elements, but that’s motly for the guitar solo that happens around the half way point, and outside of that the track just feels like a traditional Doom Metal song with a more Progressive performance from the band and in the vocals. The track is still enjoyable, and the end of the song itself is much more impressive, showing that the band is just slowly building up to the music becoming a little more passionate, but in the end it feels like it takes too long to reach that goal, and even the end starts to feel a little long winded.
Honestly, had While Heaven Wept not slipped with such a slowly progressing track at the end of the release that honestly feels drawn out with each obvious shift in that progression, this would have been a Progressive Metal masterpiece. Sure you can get lost in the song, but there are moments even when you do that you’ll be wishing it would hurry up already and throw something a little different in. But that’s it. That literally becomes the only element of this release holding it back. Fear of Infinity is a fantastic album right from the start and, despite a rocky finish, remains a moving Progressive epic until the end. The performances here are perfect and moving, epic and beautiful, pulling the listener back in the moment it’s done to experience why While Heaven Wept is one of the most important bands in Progressive Metal today.
01. Hour of Reprisal – 3:47
02. Destroyer of Solace – 2:40
03. Obsessions Now Effigies – 4:37
04. Unplenitude – 3:21
05. To Grieve Forever – 6:13
06. Saturn and Sacrifice – 5:25
07. Finality – 11:08
|Overall Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.