There are a lot of metal groups out there who have beautiful work in instrumentation, whose tones can pick you up or dash your heart into pieces. There are many whose rhythms can catch you, and whose melodies can transport you to far off lands.
There are few, however, you can take you on an odyssey from the moment the needle touches down, and transport you into an epic that Homer would be amazed at. From the beginning riffs, to the midway crests and falls, to the satisfying conclusions that leave one aching emotionally, or satisfied and triumphant.
There are fewer still, whose lyrics are both smart, and audible, crystal clear, and as emotional. There are less again, who can sound bombastic one moment, and as quiet as whispering angels the next.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am speaking of one group in particular that has held my attention so raptly. I am speaking of “While Heaven Wept.”
Take a moment, search them out. You won’t be sorry. Find one of their albums if you can, and then listen to it from start to finish and then you can see what I mean. If there is one thing I can not stress enough, its that they know how to put an album together to tell a story. Vast Oceans Lachrymose is about a journey, and from the opening assault of The Furthest Shore, which alone, at over 15 minutes, may sound like a chore, but instead becomes an adventure that welcomes you to follow in, at times, a heart racing tempo that feels like a vessel caught in a tempest, only to fall into a lull of a calm after a storm. To its concluding songs, one of which the album owes its name to, which feels so awesomely conclusive, you just know that it deserves to be at the end of an epic movie. You can feel the quest is over, the triumph, the tragedy.
This song does not lose anything when performed live, and although it lacks any vocalization, it will still convey the gratification of a quest well ventured. I hope, that if any of my stories ever make it to screen, that this song concludes the final adventure.
Suspended at Aphelion is another example of merging the stories of each song together, and it follows the tale of Icarus and Daedalus, before seeming to shift to Daedalus struck in grief. If there was a metal opera that I ever wanted to watch, it would be this album. It’s not uncommon to catch me listening to this album from start to finish while working either my day job, or writing a script. I can admit that I listened to it today while I was enduring the head of a boiler room today, and it let me stay focused enough to complete my job.
But the most important song to me that they have ever produced, is Finality, from their Fear of Infinity album. The start builds on a slowly and lovingly nurtured guitar as it climbs and ascends, giving a feeling of a soul, struggling to make its last steps to heaven before the lyrics kick in, and indeed, the image of such a heavenly creature is cemented in a slowly sung verse, which doesn’t prepare one at all, for the power and emotion in the chorus.
This is why the song means so much to me. I had just attended the funeral of my clan’s patriarch, and while sitting, laboring on a program that had stumped me for hours, I heard the lines of the chorus, and for a moment, allowed myself to smile, close my eyes, and join in.
And there I sat, as the emotions were allowed to drain from me to some of the most melodic music I had heard in a long time, only to hear new energy injected at the halfway mark. The song stayed familiar, but kept changing, and when the most important part of the lyrics finally played, I was fully involved.
If only I could have held you one last time
Before you closed your eyes and spread your wings to fly away
If only you could hear me now, I wish I had the chance to tell you
Everything I never had the chance to say:
There is one last verse to this song, and it, in turn, is every thought of a man who has lost the woman of his dreams.
I’m going to admit, this is THE song that I want playing over the end titles of GENMOS.
You can find a lot of their music online. If you enjoy sweeping, talented music, and lyrics that are crisp, clean, and soaring, give them a quick peak.
I’m glad I did.