Monday, April 25

While Heaven Wept - Fear Of Infinity

While Heaven Wept
Fear Of Infinity


How do you begin to describe something that defies description? How can words on digital paper possibly encompass everything that this album invokes? Simply put: they can’t, but I won’t be caught without trying.

The levels of anticipation for “Fear Of Infinity” were ridiculously high, after 2009’s “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” turned the collective heads of the metal world in the direction of these American masters of progressive doom. By the time the beehive started to overflow with buzz, there wasn’t a single way in which this album would fully deliver on the expectations. So don’t assume you’ll be floored with the first spin, or even with the three consecutive ones. Rip the album out of its context, let the music speak for itself and slowly immerse yourself in the wonder that is “Fear Of Infinity”.

There’re only seven tracks on this album, and each of them represents a different mood, so don’t mind if I break it down. While Heaven Wept seems to have a knack for writing mammoth opening tracks. If “The Furthest Shore” has the potential to flatten a building to the ground, then “Hour Of Reprisal” pisses on its ruins and drives them all the way down to the center of the Earth. As soon as the majestic amalgamation of rancorous riffs and ominous orchestration hits, a big neon sign screaming “EPIC” starts flashing in your brains only to explode a second later. This song screams determination and bitterness and marks the heaviest boulder these guys have ever carved.

Never eschewing an element of power metal in their music, While Heaven Wept can write a catchy tune if they so intend and “Destroyer Of Solace” is a tough one to shake off. “Obsessions Now Effigies” is the closest thing to “Vast Oceans Lachrymose”, with its ebb-and-tide structure of cresting and breaking, rolling and receding waves of melancholy. Halfway through the album is a moment of peace in the form of the ballad “Unplenitude”, which is a welcome moment of quiet before the second half.

Up next is the gloomy “To Grieve Forever”, which to no one’s surprise is a song about grief. Definitely one that’ll flow better on rainy days, but it’s ending melody is wonderfully uplifting for a song that takes us to the saddest corners of the human heart. Second-to-last is “Saturn And Sacrifice”, a strange and more straightforward metal song with a theatrical chorus. Definitely the odd one out here, but it has lots of singing-along-potential and a nice, up-tempo middle section.

The actual finale is called “Finality” and ends with “This is the end!”, which seems more than fitting, but we get it, guys: it’s the last song. Despite its length and the pressure of being the “epic last track”, it isn’t in a hurry to outdo the rest of the album, instead it continues its atmosphere with a not particularly complicated but sweeping and engulfing love song.

And repeat. There will be people who detract this album for only being 37 minutes long, and I was a bit skeptical too at first. Yet after multiple spins I can conclude that "Fear Of Infinity" is perfect in duration and even better: it’s very hard to turn off when the first song comes around again. So instead of giving us an hour-long album that risks getting boring in places, While Heaven Wept has given us one with instant and infinite replay-value. We never have to fear infinity again.


Arno Callens' rating: 4.5 out of 5

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