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. Since the beginning, there has been a wide range of influences, transcending forms, styles, and genres…running the gamut from early Fates Warning and Queensrÿche to Coroner and Holy Terror, from Kitaro and Klaus Schulze to Black Sabbath, Rush, and King Crimson…all the while incorporating elements from 4AD artists/shoegazers (Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, etc.) and a decidedly neo-romantic structure inspired by the likes of Chopin, Beethoven, Faure - as well as some late 20th Century composers such as Gorecki, Pärt, and Kilar.
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 bandmate Trevor came on board in 2004 after a series of drummers came and went.
The current line-up really solidified in 2008 with the addition of former Altura vocalist Rain Irving, who first appeared on the landmark “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” album, which ultimately has come to define the full realization of the “WHW sound” without betraying the musical framework established over the decades prior. Shortly after the release of “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” the line-up was further expanded when one-time surrogate keyboard player Jason Lingle (also ex-Altura) was brought in to enhance the orchestral and harmonic aspects of the material.
After more than 20 years operating as an independent artist, self-financing every release and tour, the band signed their first and only contract with the world’s largest Metal label Nuclear Blast Records in 2010 to combat the exorbitant prices for their rare catalog of releases and to insure their music was widely available from then on.
Following the release of the “Fear Of Infinity” album in 2011, WHW toured throughout Europe and the United States, performed at several high-profile festivals including Germany’s Hammer Of Doom, Greece’s Up The Hammers, ProgPower USA, as well as a series of European Metalfests promoted by the band’s booking agency Rock The Nation.
Over the past 25 years, WHW has shared the stage with everyone from legends such as Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram, Forbidden, and Sanctuary to equally legendary contemporaries like Primordial, Solstice (UK), Mourning Beloveth, Penance, and Revelation onto new hopes like Orodruin, Argus, The Gates Of Slumber, Alcest, Cormorant, and Vektor…not to mention sharing festival stages with the likes of the “larger than life” Arch Enemy, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Cradle Of Filth, etc.
2014 marks a quarter of a century of While Heaven Wept and the band is commemorating this with the release of “Suspended At Aphelion” - a single 40 minute epic, that is easily the pinnacle of their recorded output so far…combining the sweeping melodies, dense orchestration, glorious bombast, and heartfelt sincerity they’ve always been known for in their most “complete” expression to date.
“Suspended At Aphelion” sees the band continuing to redefine themselves defying musical labels and boundaries with their most ambitious, truly progressive release to date. Apart from the panoramic scope of the material, the involvement of prestigious guests including Fates Warning co-founder Victor Arduini, Fates Warning alumnus and Warlord drummer Mark Zonder, esteemed classical guitarist Christopher Ladd, and cellist Mark Shuping further pushes the album unto another level altogether.
25 years on, we find While Heaven Wept at the very peak of their creativity and profoundly emotional expression, not content to revel in past glories or rest upon laurels, it seems that this is only the beginning…