While Heaven Wept

Fear of Infinity

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The term "epic doom metal," which has been used to describe the late-2000s/early-2010s' output of While Heaven Wept, almost sounds like a contradiction in terms. Epic metal (as in epic power metal or epic progressive metal) goes out of its way to sound big, grandiose, and larger than life; doom metal, on the other hand, is, well, doomy. It is full of melancholy, which is quite a contrast to the conquer-the-world bravado and machismo that one finds in the epic power metal recordings of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensr├┐che, or the delightfully cartoonish Manowar. But Fear of Infinity does, in fact, have a sound that can honestly be described as epic doom metal. Granted, this 2011 release may not be doom metal to someone who thinks that the sludgy brutality and rawness of Saint Vitus and the very underground Grief is what doom metal is supposed to sound like; rather, the consistently melodic Fear of Infinity is more like doom metal-meets-gothic metal-meets power metal and progressive metal. While Heaven Wept used to go out of their way to emulate Candlemass; on Fear of Infinity, however, it is impossible to overlook the power metal and prog metal elements. Faster tempos are plentiful, which is certainly a contrast to the slow, plodding, Black Sabbath-minded riffs that put Candlemass (who used to be While Heaven Wept's dominant influence) on the map. But for all its power metal/prog metal energy, Fear of Infinity is still an unapologetically melancholy album. And the fact that Fear of Infinity actually manages to be epic and sorrowful at the same time speaks well of While Heaven Wept, who clearly are no longer content to sound like a poor man's Candlemass. Creatively, the 2009 release Vast Oceans Lachrymose was a step forward for these Virginians, and they keep that creative momentum going on the intriguing Fear of Infinity.

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