|Review: While Heaven Wept - Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence|
Label: High Roller Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Doom Metal
Review online: October 31, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.7/5 (74%) (10 Votes)
I'm generally not a fan of live albums, what with their variations on songs I've grown accustomed to in their original form, but for While Heaven Wept, I'll make an exception. Recorded at the Hammer of Doom festival, Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence features songs from all three of While Heaven Wept's full-length albums. Impressive when you consider the length of many of their songs and the short set times bands are given at festivals. Being familiar mainly with the most recent, Vast Oceans Lachrymose, I can tell you that the songs from that album, "Vast Oceans Lachrymose," "Vessel" and "The Furthest Shore" are abbreviated versions, but lose nothing in terms of quality, so don't let that put you off.
As I said, I generally don't like it when bands significantly alter the sound of their songs when played live and fortunately, for me, anyway, While Heaven Wept "stick to the book," if you will, on Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence. The band sounds in top form during their set. The epic material from Vast Oceans Lachrymose is magnificently epic and the doomier material from earlier in their career is heavy and oppressive, lying like a lead blanket over the heads of the crowd. Rain Irving is outstanding, his powerful vocals carrying majestically in the live setting. The band must have wanted to showcase him as he's right in the front of the mix on every track. Keyboardist/backup vocalist Michelle Loose-Schrotz does an excellent job on the harmony vocals, which is quite evident on the chorus of "The Furthest Shore." Overall the album sounds huge and lush.
Some of the tribulations of the live setting do crop up on Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence. There is a bit of feedback on the guitars in the opener "Vast Oceans Lachrymose." The album is also quite keyboard heavy, almost as if the mix wasn't quite right between them and guitars, which is a bit of a bummer.
Despite my minor complaints, I found Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence to be an excellent time capsule of While Heaven Wept's career. It would be the perfect starting point for someone new to the band. Epic/Doom Metal has never sounded better.
Note: Review based on the 2LP vinyl release. The album is also being released as a CD/DVD and digital download.
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Interview with guitarist and songwriter Tom Phillips on December 13, 2014 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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