On this album the band decided to make a concept album and from a lyrical and aesthetic standpoint they succeed. Musically though, "Suspended at Aphelion" leaves a bit to be desired.
It starts off well enough with the gorgeous classical piece "Introspectus" which sets the tone for the whole album. Then we come to my favorite track "Icarus and I" which doesn't have any doom to speak of, but is nonetheless epic and grandiose. The last few minutes of the song make you feel as if you're soaring through the heavens just as Icarus did.
Things slow down after that with "Ardor" which repeats the last few minutes of "Icarus and I." Reprises are a common musical device, but using one right after its parent track, rather than at the end, and not making it acoustic are not very good ideas.
The next moment of excitement comes with track 5 "Indifference Turned Paralysis" which shows the band's proficiency with translating classical musical structures into metal. A power metal band could have easily written this piece (and that's not a bad thing at all considering I'm a fan of power metal).
The album's second truly great track is "Reminiscence of Strangers" which is a beautiful ballad which builds up into the kind of epic doom melody I was hoping to hear on this album.
There are three tracks under 2 minutes on this album and that is a pet peeve of mine. Unless it's punk or grindcore, I'd prefer albums have songs at least 2 minutes long. The band would have been much better off combining the time used for those three tracks into something better.
The long and short of it is that the truly epic moments I was hoping for are few and far between. Much of this album is repetitive and not all that interesting. While Heaven Wept are clearly a talented band and I'm a big fan of theirs. However, it seems like this time they couldn't focus that talent into something really cohesive and memorable like "Vast Oceans Lachrymose." Concept albums are fine as long as each song can shine on its own. Most of the songs here, unfortunately, cannot. That said, this is still a good album and it contains creative songwriting and a couple of really good tracks that make it worth coming back to.
(Special thanks to Nuclear Blast to providing me a promo copy.)