Label : Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Stina

Hot on the heels of last year’s “Triumph : Tragedy : Transcendence – Live at the Hammers of Doom” comes While Heaven Wept’s fourth studio album, “Fear of Infinity”. It was never unusual for these by now legendary Virginia Epic Doomsters to go several years between full-lengths, so two of them (and a live album) in the span of two years is a pretty big deal for loyal fans. But after impressing audience and press alike with 2009’s “Vast Oceans Lachrymose”, things were bound to change. Fresh off a record deal with perhaps the most famous rock and metal label in the world – that is to say, Nuclear Blast, While Heaven Wept took an exceptionally short time in crafting a follow up, and, after announcing the signing in November, they rushed into the studio to have the album ready before this April – which could make our alarm bells ring as for the quality of the product, especially considering the high standards set by a band that has been around for twenty years and at the top of their league for at least half of them. And, while whatever they could put together in a few months is still a lot more than what an average band could put together in a career, “Fear of Infinity” is not quite on par with said standards: sure, it’s a While Heaven Wept album, and thus possesses all the trademarks and signature elements of their latest style – epic cavalcades, twin guitar melodic scale progressions, Michelle Schrotz’s chilling but elegant synth work, her vocal duels with Tom Phillips, melancholic melodies and overall technical proficiency. But this ultimately turns out a double edge sword: “Fear of Infinity” is on the verge of falling short in the sense that it’s often difficult to spot the differences between it and its predecessor; at times it’s like the album sounds as though it could easily have been spawned during the same recording session – which is, actually, something not far removed from the truth, since the majority of “Fear of Infinity” was rehearsed alongside the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” material. Therefore, is no surprise that this latest effort neither pushes any envelopes nor changes any games, much in its seven tracks only sounding as a slight variation (albeit a surely enjoyable one) of something else done before by the same band – which is to say, dangerously close to stagnating and dull. An off-putting thing for fans of female vocals (which is saying a lot of you readers, or else you wouldn’t be browsing Femme Metal reviews!), is the scarce prominence given to Michelle as a singer: as said before, she mostly harmonizes with Tom without benefiting of much exposure, therefore only the most fervent WHW fans among you will want to get their hands on this album. To me, it felt too much of a genre exercise to maintain album-length interest – even though a mild effort by While Heaven Wept is still a nice slab of melancholic, doomy epicness and therefore quite the pleasure for our metallic ears.

Rating – 72/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Hour of Reprisal
  2. Destroyer of Solace
  3. Obsessions Now Effigies
  4. Unplentitude
  5. To Grieve Forever
  6. Saturn and Sacrifice
  7. Finality

 

Line Up

  • Rain Irving – Lead Vocals
  • Scott Loose – Guitar
  • Tom Phillips – Guitar, Keyboards & Vocals
  • Jason Lingle – Additional Keyboards & Vocals
  • Michelle Schrotz – Keyboards & Vocals
  • Jim Hunter – Bass & Vocals
  • Trevor Schrotz – Drums

 

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