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While Heaven Wept : Of Empires Forlorn

There have been many legends concerning the Holy Grail. From the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper to the legend of King Arthur. The Holy Grail has been described in numerous ways and seems to be lost forever. Well rejoice my doomed brethren for we have found it! While Heaven Wept with 'Of Empires Forlorn' presents to us no less than the holy grail of Doom-metal!

The first time I heard this album I already knew it, something just clicked instantly. From the first note to the very last, everything is just in it's place, everything is just right. While we are only in the beginning of 2003 I am already going to dare and say that 'Of Empires Forlorn' is the best Doom-metal album of 2003! At the very least While Heaven Wept have upped the stakes for all other bands to outdo them.

'Of Empires Forlorn' is While Heaven Wept coming to age. If compared to their previous studio effort 'Sorrow of the Angels' the band has grown a lot. They still have that epic, larger then life, feeling in their music. If you enjoyed their previous effort you won't be disappointed for sure. The song writing has matured a lot (and that with 'Sorrow of the Angels' already being a very strong effort). The band manages to create a majestic feel of true sorrow and melancholy. Epic vocals, strong riffing, atmospheric keyboards and a very tight rhythm section; every element of While Heaven Wept is in perfect harmony.

From the first moment I heard this album it sounded familiar, like I have owned it for years. Yet, every time I listen to it I discover new elements and it continues to surprise me. It's recommended to listen to this album with headphones a few times. A lot of small details are hidden away in the music, like little gifts waiting to be discovered. While Heaven Wept have combined writing a grand and epic album with all kinds of small musical goodies. Which to me is testimony of excellent song writing.

It is hard to give a solid definition of the music found here. Clearly it is Epic Doom that ranks right up there with Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus and Solstice. But While Heaven Wept have their own unique sound and can take their place as equals. Combining the right elements for the job is a large factor of their success here. From epic guitars solos to pounding riffs, from massive epic compositions to fragile atmospheric interludes, from majestic clean vocals to even sporadically using a death grunt on the title track, While Heaven Wept combines all that is good about Doom.

The Candlemass cover 'Epistle No. 81' (of the 'Ancient Dreams' album) fits right in with the rest of the songs. While Heaven Wept have made the song their own, without discrediting the original song. It has become more epic than the original. Giving the entire song a bit more power and a grand feeling. Although I don't think that the speed isn't much faster than the original, it somehow seems to flow more fluently and as such gives the illusion of being slightly faster (and slightly less depressing). All in all this is a great interpretation of the original song.

There is little left for me to say about this release that I have not already said. It is probably clear that I am wildly enthusiastic about this release. It is the best Doom-metal release I have heard in the last 5 years! It however remains hard for me to precisely describe the music. As I noted before 'Of Empires Forlorn' combines basically everything that is good about Doom, and it's hard to just pick out one element and describe that. It's a grand journey of sorrow and sadness that you just need to experience for yourself. I will recommend this release to anybody and everybody. This is a must have!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Drowning Years
2. Of Empires Forlorn
3. Voice in the wind
4. Soulsadness
5. Epistle No. 81
6. Sorrow of the Angels
7. From Empires to Oceans

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes.

Visit the While Heaven Wept bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
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