While Heaven Wept – Triumph:Tragedy: Transcendence – Live at Hammer of Doom   1 comment

While Heaven Wept, the band who gets constantly labeled as a doom-band even though they don’t really play anything that could be considered traditional doom-metal. I am guessing the tag gets given to them because you can’t really described the band in just a few words. If you read my review for the last album, “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” you would have noticed I too am hard pressed to put them into a specific genre. The music is very dark and heavy but it is also very melodic and progressive with guitarist Tom Phillips being one of the most gifted musicians in the world. The band spent close to 6 years from 2003 to 2009 without a release but  have been engaged in constant activity ever since. A new studio album, a best of compilation and now this CD/DVD set titled “Triumph-Tragedy-Transcendence: Live at the Hammer of Doom Festival” which captures the band live in Germany on the 6th of February 2010. Choosing between the CD and the DVD is a no brainer, it’s the DVD that takes all your interest. Not just because it’s a live DVD but also because you get bonus footage from a show in Pittsburgh, PA in January of 2010 and while that footage is of a lesser quality, it still makes the purchase essential if you are a fan of the band.

If you have heard the band, you would know their epic-metal sound is huge and expansive so it can easily fill a big arena and in some ways, this band was made for such events. Opening with “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” and then going into “The Furthest Shore (Parts 1-3),” the band display all their impressive musical skills and it is a captivating experience to behold. Of course the band is not one for short, catchy tunes, songs are long, epic and full of twists and turns and while they sound incredible with their studio works, hearing them nail the songs in a live setting makes them even more remarkable. The mix is very good, all the instruments are loud and clear and the vocals of Rain Irving are stunning throughout but especially on “Soulsadness” and “The Drowning Years”  which climbs the emotional scale, soaring to new heights of melancholy. The keyboards of Michelle Schrotz really come to the fore-front here also, much more here than they do in the studio.  The centerpiece to their performance is “Thus With A Kiss I Die” which is 20 plus minutes of mesmerizing guitar melodies and jaw-dropping musical interludes and changes. The band have always been able to come up with massive riffs at will but there is no more finer than what you can hear on this track and the guitar solo that Phillips unleashes here is simply mind-blowing.

“Vessel” is another highlight with the German audience obviously really enjoying themselves during this tune. The song is more up-beat than the usual material from the band and the crowd take the opportunity to get their rocks off in a big way. The surprise encore is a tribute to Fates Warning as they play an early tune from them titled “To Wander the Void” and even though I was never a fan of Fates Warning, the intricate riffing is awesome to hear. Also included on the DVD is some backstage footage and 3 tracks from the Pittsburgh show but after hearing those same songs earlier on and in better quality, it seems a wasted inclusion really. You also get a some interview segments so there is plenty of incentives to buy this. Even though they can be a bit pretentious and overly progressive in parts, the heavy riffs, captivating melodies and mind-blowing performance makes this essential viewing. They are not really doom but they are still epic and dark in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus so doom fans can surely appreciate some of the atmospheric gloom that are included within their songs. For people yet to hear the band, this is a perfect introduction and for old fans, this is maybe the most important release for showcasing their music. Out now on Cruz Del Sur Music……..9/10
While Heaven Wept Official
While Heaven Wept @ MySpace

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Posted December 19, 2010 by doommantia in While Heaven Wept

One response to “While Heaven Wept – Triumph:Tragedy: Transcendence – Live at Hammer of Doom

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  1. Great band but I never really got why why this band is considered doom…

    Nevertheless can't wait to see them live with Solstice on March!

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