Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Tony Cannella
From Virginia, While Heaven Wept has existed since 1991. As they have done throughout their career, their 5th album “Suspended At Aphelion” merges different genres and influences to create an open canvas with a lot of scope and depth.
I love progressive music, especially progressive metal, but even I have to admit that it can be a crapshoot. There are a lot of cool bands out there in the genre and While Heaven Wept is one of the better ones I’ve heard in recent years. Of course to label them as a strictly progressive would be short sighted, they also incorporate other elements from the metal spectrum. “Suspended At Aphelion” features guest spots from guitarist Victor Arduini a founding member of the great Connecticut progressive metal band Fates Warning and drummer Mark Zonder formerly of Fates Warning and formerly and currently of Warlord. “Suspended At Aphelion” is a bombastic 40-minutes of progressive metal which is basically one epic song, divided into 11 parts. The record opens with the mournful intro “Introspectus” and segues into the bombastic 7-minute “Icarus and I”. This proves to be a huge number with some great tempo changes and vocals ranging from clean vocals reminiscent of Roy Khan to aggressive style brutal vocals. The band is fronted by the powerful vocals of Tom Phillips and also features Michelle Schrotz (from the band Brave) on keyboards and harmony vocals. After the intro, the pounding 7-minute “Icarus and I” segues in. “Ardor” is next and begins with a slower melancholic pace before taking on a more up-tempo tone. Other highlights include: “Heartburst”, “Reminiscence of Strangers”, “Lifelines Lost” and the outro “Retrospectus” which wraps things up nicely.
Overall like on their previous records, While Heaven Wept has proven their ability to write intelligent compositions. “Suspended At Aphelion” is one of those albums that may not make an immediate impression, but at the end of the day it serves as a satisfying reminder how inspiring music can be.
Rating – 80/100
- Icarus and I
- Indifference Turned Paralysis
- The Memory of Bleeding
- Souls in Permafrost
- Searching the Stars
- Reminiscence of Strangers
- Lifelines Lost
- Rain Irving – Lead and Harmony Voices
- Tom Phillips – Guitars, Keyboards, Voice
- Scott Loose – Guitars
- Michelle Schrotz – Keyboards, Harmony Voices
- Jason Lingle – Keyboards and Voices
- Jim Hunter – Bass
- Trevor Schrotz – Drums