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Of Empires Forlorn

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Album Review

As could be expected from a band whose decade-plus history had yielded only one lonesome LP, While Heaven Wept's amazingly late sophomore offering is something of a time-machine release. Part original album, part career retrospective, the depressingly named Of Empires Forlorn alternates recent compositions with older material dating between seven and even 12 years prior, and, coincidentally, also serves as a sampler for pretty much every subgenre of doom of the previous decade. As long as it's heavy and sorrowful, you can bet you'll find it here. This variety notwithstanding, Swedish doom titans Candlemass are easily While Heaven Wept's biggest source of inspiration, and their mournful spirit absolutely pervades desolate overtures to misery like "Soulsadness,""Sorrow of the Angels," and their own rendition of the traditional Swedish hymn "Epistle No. 81." And for his part, vocalist Tom Phillips shows impressive (though not quite as high-caliber) range encompassing everything from tuneful, high-pitched screams to bowl-shaking, operatic baritones reminiscent of Kansas' Steve Walsh and Candlemass' Messiah Marcolin, respectively. Combine all of the above, and the similarities might have been too much to stomach were it not for two key distinctions: first, there's While Heaven Wept's widespread use of lush orchestration behind most every tune; and second, there's the power metal-derived melodies evident on the rare, energetic numbers (see "The Drowning Years"). Taken as a whole, Of Empires Forlorn grows larger than the sum of its parts, and mostly succeeds in its mission to re-introduce While Heaven Wept to those willing to listen. Whether the band can now capitalize with some measure of consistent output remains to be seen.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The concept for Virginia's While Heaven Wept started brewing in late 1989, but it wasn't until five years later that Tom Phillips (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Gabe Funston (bass), and Jon Paquin (drums) recorded Lovesongs of the Forsaken -- the group's first EP of mournful, classic doom. Unable to complete a follow-up album to his satisfaction, Phillips briefly worked with British doomsters Solstice before revitalizing While Heaven Wept, and finalizing 1998's Sorrow of the Angels LP with the help...
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Top Albums and Songs by While Heaven Wept

Of Empires Forlorn, While Heaven Wept
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  • 7,92 €
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 18 November 2003

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