Label : Cruz del Sur Music/High Roller Records/Iron Kodex Records

Review by Stina

On some occasions, live albums/DVDs might tend to mark certain – hopefully memorable – circumstances: relevant anniversaries, for example, or maybe a special performance in a significant venue. While Heaven Wept‘s first live package – a CD/DVD 2 disc set released via Cruz Del Sur Music on November 8th, 2010 in a quantity of 3000 copies, plus an additional, limited edition 2LP set released through a joint collaboration between Cruz Del Sur Music, High Roller Records and Iron Kodex Records in a quantity of 1000 copies, including a poster, insert and housed in heavy gatefold sleeve – adheres to any of the aforementioned criteria yet it is not truly any of the above. A document of a band in their 20th year, and – and as far as locations go, recorded during the band’s appearance at Hammer of Doom festival, in Germany, the real purpose of this release is better explained in the words of primary writer and overall engine of the band, mainman Tom Philips: “The philosophy behind this release is twofold; first, it is an expression of our gratitude to everyone who attended the show – who made it such a special, unforgettable experience for us. Secondly, being that there are many places that WHW would like to perform, but we’ve yet to reach, hopefully this will hold those waiting over until we can broker a deal to appear in your city, in person”. “Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence” might not capture the most extensive live set ever performed (a total of seven tracks, plus the usual bonus material including rehearsal films, a 20-minute interview and three additional live versions of songs already played in the Hammer of Doom show), but it does surely make up for that detail, as it reaches as far back as the band’s 1998 debut “Sorrow of the Angels”, bringing together a nice collection that spans all the band’s releases, much to the fans’ pleasure. This renders the result not just a cobbled-together, fans-only collector’s item, but also an overall enjoyable work, and even an excellent introduction to the legendary Doom act from Virginia, also thanks to the excellent quality of the performance, both sound-wise and also technically. Covering an expanse of nuances from the serene and celestial to the epic and raging and a kaleidoscopic plethora of dispositions in-between due to the reason mentioned above (as anyone who’s familiar with the discography of WHW is able to testify), “Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence” showcases a jaw-dropping interplay between the musicians that’s remarkably fluid, perfectly coordinated and crystal clear – individual contributions are outstandingly discernible and the atmosphere created by the synths of Michelle Schrotz (the lady of the band, with whom she has recently parted ways – only on a temporary basis, thankfully – due to maternity reasons), who is also responsible for the harmonized female vocals, coat the execution of the songs in a chilling but soothing fashion. This live release has mostly been criticized for its coldness (most of the audience’s reaction is silenced, which gives an impeccable but a bit studio-like feel to the overall performance) but the presence of this flaw which the reviewer only perceives as minor should be let get in the way of the validity of the work. Sure, While Heaven Wept may not have invented melody-infused Epic Doom, but they sure have put an indelible stamp on it over the last twenty years – which means two things: first and foremost, any fan of the band would better grab a copy of this live release, and secondly, if you, reader, are yet to investigate the soundscapes of this fine femme-related band, don’t you think the time is now?

Rating – 80/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Vast Ocean Lachrymose
  2. The Furthest Shore (Parts 1-3)
  3. Soul Sadness
  4. The Drowning Years
  5. Of Empires Forlorn
  6. Vessel
  7. Thus With a Kiss I Die

 

Line Up

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

 

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