While Heaven Wept – Fear of Infinity (Nuclear Blast Records)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 8/10

While Heaven Wept’s 2009 Vast Oceans Lachymose was the full and unabashed portrayal of “epic” metal. Not power or doom, just flat out epic fucking metal, and it produced one of the best songs in recent memory – “Vessel,” a jam with a chorus so soaring, you’ll feel like you’re flying with eagles. Well, kind of. Nevertheless, VOL put the long-running WHW (acronyms rule) right smack-dab at the fore of many scenes at once, prompting the leap all way up to the big boys in Nuclear Blast Records for Fear of Infinity.

Those accustomed to WHW’s brand of long, breathy songs may find Fear of Infinity to be a bit of a small shock, for in place of the typical instrumental sections placed around the vocals, it’s the other way around. Singer Rain Irving (who is seriously one of the nicest dudes ever) is the main player here, and it’s a good call by mainman Tom Phillips – Irving has a set of heaving pipes that effortlessly carry Phillips’ melodic, doom-beyond-doom songs. Irving can hit the highs with ease (“Hour of Reprisal”) and also envelop a degree of tenderness (!) on “Unplentitude” that will make the most stoic of metal dude shake in their combat boots. In fact, it’s hardly a stretch to say the man is easily one of the best singers in North America.

At only 37 minutes, Fear works pretty hard to get its point across. Whether it’s the somber stance of “To Grieve Forever,” or the Candlemass-like “Saturn and Sacrifice,” WHW has no problem threading the needle between mountainous melodic sections and highly dramatized doom portions. To those in the know, this is probably the least challenging of the WHW albums, yet it’s their most efficient.

Highly thematic and climatic (the lyrics for this are pretty heavy), Fear of Infinity is the right move for While Heaven Wept to make in relation to their union with Nuclear Blast. Clearly, the band has unlimited operating room, and albums like this are just a small window into how wide and spacious the band’s sound really is. As noted above, few bands represent the epic metal tag better than While Heaven Wept.

 www.myspace.com/whileheavenwept

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)