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While Heaven Wept - Of Empires Forlorn (4/10) - USA - 2003

Genre: Doom Metal
Label: Eibon Records
Playing time: 42:50
Band homepage: While Heaven Wept

Tracklist:

  1. The Drowning Years
  2. Of Empires Forlorn
  3. Voice In The Wind
  4. Soulsadness
  5. Epistle 81
  6. Sorrow Of The Angels
  7. From Empires To Oceans
While Heaven Wept - Of Empires Forlorn

Many websites label WHILE HEAVEN WEPT as Doom Metal, yet the band fronts few of the genre’s common traits. “Soulsadness” comes as close as any track on the album, but its triumphs are brief and lack the depth of MY DYING BRIDE or ANATHEMA. The epic elements of each composition dominate the first half of the album while the second falls short in comparison with works from predecessors SOLITUDE AETERNUS and CANDLEMASS.

 

“Sorrow Of The Angels” stands as the album’s strongest track, although its most depressing moments do not match with the semi-gothic themes drafted by Tom Phillips and Jim Hunter as the artistic concept for the album. “From Empires To Oceans” provides listeners with a decent instrumental exit, but the composition lacks variance in the vibrato applied to each phrasing and would have more impact under the use of actual stringed instruments. Nothing in either of these tracks, however, justifies enduring the first half of the album as a whole.

 

The first two tracks of the album hinge on frequent harmonies and forced vibrato to communicate a few underdeveloped and semi-depressing themes. The guitars seldom delve into discord and often accentuate cross-rhythmic patterns over an overbearing bed of pentatonic keyboard themes. The artists favor synthesizers well enough to introduce bonus musicians Jake Bodnar and Kevin “131” Gutierrez; however, no stylistic differences between the pianists become evident after listening to the composition as a whole. Consistency has its place, but a lack of individuality showcases a focus on song structure in lieu of emotional build-up. Simply put, I prefer the latter.

 

“Voice In The Wind” beckons fans to bring lighters to the show by evoking every clichéd ballad analogy employed by GIUFFRIA. With that said I will limit any further commentary on the track and conclude with the notion that better material exists on other albums in Doom Metal, Epic Metal, and Epic Doom Metal. The production of the album leaves little room for complaint and the packaging is quite nice, but look elsewhere (such as "Lovesongs Of The Forsaken") for the best of the best.

(Online April 3, 2007)

Dustin Hathaway



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