WHILE HEAVEN WEPT: Suspended At Aphelion: CD

While Heaven Wept has existed in various forms since 1989 (though the actual moniker wasn’t settled upon until 1991), and co-founding guitarist / composer Tom Phillips has been the one constant for the past 25 years. Despite countless line-up changes in the early years, the core of the band, featuring bassist Jim Hunter, guitarist Scott Loose, and his sister Michelle on keyboards essentially came together in 1998 and has remained intact ever since, though her husband and Brave band mate Trevor came on board in 2004 after a series of drummers came and went.

Starting out playing doom metal, they have expanded into progressive, and symphonic metal on this far-reaching release. With a prologue “Introspectus,” and epilogue “Retrospectus,” both instrumentals at each end of the disc, they really show off the technical skills that are present in this band. “Icarus And I,” features a huge chorus, a catchy melody, and includes harsh, growled vocals. “Heartburst” is slow and soulful, and features a fantastic guitar solo from founder Tom Phillips. “Indifference Turned Paralysis,” is another instrumental, but it’s faster and brings a progressive feel to the track. “The Memory of Bleeding” and “Souls in Permafrost,” are powerful songs with the latter featuring an amazing chorus. “Reminiscence of Strangers,” has blinding guitar work from Phillips and guest guitarist Victor Arduini. You need to listen to the album as a whole, because it is a dynamic and richly textured experience.

Grab the headphones, turn the lights down, and drink in the sweet sounds that are on display here. Not everyone can pull off such a feat, but this is one experience that is worth having over and over again.

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