WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - The Arcane Unearthed  DLP
WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - The Arcane Unearthed  DLP
WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - The Arcane Unearthed  DLP
WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - The Arcane Unearthed  DLP
WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - The Arcane Unearthed DLP

HRR 145, limited to 1000 copies, 300 x 180g orange/ black blend vinyl + 700 x 180g black vinyl, gatefold cover, cardboard insert

"The Arcane Unearthed - A Collection Of Rarities 1994-2010"
All recordings remastered in 2011

"To Wander The Void" (Live, 2010)
"Vast Oceans Lachrymose" (Demo, 2004)
"The Drowning Years" (7" version, 2002)
"Sorrow Of The Angels" (7" version, 2002)
"Into The Wells Of Sorrow" (Compilation Mix, 1998)
"Unplenitude" (Outtake, 1998)
"The Mourning" (7" version, 1996)
"Into The Wells Of Sorrow" (7" version, 1994 *extended mix*)
"Shores Of Desolation (7" version, 1994 *extended mix*)


2010 was a fantastic year for While Heaven Wept. Their whole back catalogue was re-released on glorious vinyl by High Roller Records. That was a huge success. And as a result While Heaven Wept snapped up a deal with Nuclear Blast Records right before the end of the year. Does Tom Phillips think that there is a connection between the superb viny re-releases on High Roller and Nuclear Blast discovering the band? He weighs his words: “These editions certainly didn’t hurt anything, haha! I believe Nuclear Blast’s interest was spurned on by a plethora of things: this ‘legendary’ performance at Hammer Of Doom 3, the universal reception of ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’, and indeed the rabid response to the High Roller Records 20th Anniversary Series … I mean it’s mindblowing to think that in this day and age a set of vinyl is THAT in demand but I have to give Steffen and our other partners their due. We really did something special, and I’m so proud of these editions, they are everything they always should have been.” Tom elaborates a bit more on the importance of the Hammer Of Doom festival for his band: “Our appearance at Hammer Of Doom 3 essentially changed everything for us, as the Monday after the event, Andy from Nuclear Blast initiated a conversation that ended up lasting many months. It was a magical night and I’m so thankful that Streetclip TV captured what they did, because I truly adore ‘T:T:T’ personally. That’s as real as it gets! My last visit to Hammer Of Doom was far less ceremonial … no one expected me to be there anyway. But the caveat is I was able to present copies of the LP to our favorite second home in Würzburg: ‘Das Haus der 150 Biere’!” Tom struggles to find the right words for how he sees the High Roller vinyl re-release campaign of While Heaven Wept: “Shit man … the reality is these vinyl pressings are superior to anything else we have ever done. Even the earliest recordings (contained within ‘Lovesongs’) sound unlike anything else we’ve ever done, yet at the same time as though they were always intended. I had a long chat with former While Heaven Wept drummer Jon Paquin about this and we couldn’t be more pleased. So as far as we are concerned anything other than the High Roller Records pressings are irrelevant. And it is amazing that anyone else would even give a fuck … but for what it is worth ... we also put our hearts and souls into these albums … and the graphics. Our regular webmistress Estelle really knocked it out of the park with ‘Empires’ and ‘Lovesongs’ in particular; even if the band ended tomorrow, High Roller Records has enabled a genuine legacy. And cheers to Steffen for that - for believing in us. That won’t be forgotten by any means.”
So as While Heaven Wept are now signed to Nuclear Blast Records, does that mean the end of the band’s co-operation with High Roller? Tom does not know for certain: “I cannot say for sure, but in a fleeting conversation with Jochen (Nuclear Blast’s VP), the vibe seemed as if they’d be open to ‘special pressings’ versus only THE pressing if that makes sense. What I mean is: they obviously want to produce their own pressings of the standard edition, but if we wanted to do something extra-special, I think High Roller Records is the only choice. And even they have to admit our previous collaborations with High Roller Records are superior to just about any other attempt. If I am able to have my way, we’ll continue to work together with High Roller Records to deliver premium vinyl editions of everything we do!”
For now, fans do not have to despair as the double vinyl “The Arcane Unearthed” is still to be obtained from High Roller. It’s a compilation of hard to get 7” singles and compilation tracks, as Tom Phillips explains: “Actually, most of the material contained within ‘The Arcane Unearthed’ (Volume 1) was previously released in the form of 7”s or as parts of compilations. When we were preparing the releases initially for the 20th Anniversary Series, I didn’t take these into account, but they are, in fact, part of our history, so it made sense to ‘round things out’ with everything else that was ‘left over’ being that we’re embarking upon a new era. The previously unreleased material of which you speak will be addressed in the future, on a second edition. And it’s not that I consider these recordings as inferior … simply at the time they were being recorded I felt in my heart it wasn’t ‘right’. But with time comes hindsight …”
As just mentioned "The Arcane Unearthed" consists mainly of songs from 7” singles and compilations. So is there another compilation album with totally unpublished (demo) songs in the can? Tom Phillips: “I wouldn’t say that it’s quite ‘in the can’ as much as ‘envisioned’; over the years we recorded quite a bit of material despite the limited number of actual releases. I mean, it has been 21 years. It’s just a matter of assembling it all into something of a cohesive whole. The bottom line is I do intend to follow up ‘The Arcane Unearthed’ with future volumes featuring all of these obscure gems and curiosities. It’s just that right now, with the new record deal (and fan insistence) that we focus upon new material first and foremost. And we want this as well; I’ve already got another album beyond ‘Fear Of Infinity’ waiting in the wings. And the premise of IT’S follow-up as well.”
Which of the songs/versions on "The Arcane Unearthed" would be the most interesting for the fans, what does Phil reckon? “It really depends upon the era in which the specific listener discovered the band I suppose,” explains Tom. “Almost all of this material was previously released, but in small quantities on obscure labels, unless you were ‘hip’ to the band at that time, you’re likely to have missed the corresponding release. But, even for the diehards that have been rolling with us all along there are some otherwise unavailable gems such as the encore from ‘Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence’ (‘To Wander The Void’) – and as a footnote, I heard the complaints about its lack of inclusion on the double live album. But the fact is, it would’ve required a fifth side of vinyl, and that’s why it was omitted on the CD as well. Anyway, we also have the 2004 demo of ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’ which was recorded by the ‘Empires’ line-up. And, hmm, I also was able to provide extended versions of the A and B-sides of our first 7” as well. Otherwise, ‘The Arcane Unearthed’ (Volume 1) simply culls together ‘everything else’ that was released prior to our ‘Nuclear Blast era’ in one collection, remastered as you previously intimated, just so there IS something of a ‘flow’.”
Was "The Arcane Unearthed" compiled and delivered quite spontaneously? It was not really anounced a long time before its release. So how did the album come about after all? Tom Phillips says: “Well, as you are aware, almost all While Heaven Wept releases are very much architectural and carefully arranged/designed as per the demands of the music itself, but over the years, we did have these ‘one-offs’ so they are interrelated in that regard. It’s a monumental task to bridge numerous eras of a band over a couple decades, but on another hand, it makes perfect sense; we were very careful to couple related tracks together on each side of the vinyl, even down to the labels on the LP’s. It may not be the ‘usual’ While Heaven Wept flowing journey, but it is definitely a trip through the ages … in reverse chronology, unified by a fresh mastering.”
Okay, to round things up, let’s have a look into the future. Tom explains that the new studio album is already right around the corner: “’Fear Of Infinity’ is slated for release in April 2011. And I believe we’ll be able to deliver in that timeframe, although we have faced several challenges along the way. Most recently the passing of the father of our engineer, but also the rapidity of it all; usually we’d take a lot more time between releases, but fortunately, we had this one ‘ready to go’ even before the completion of ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’.”
As usual, there are bound to be some surprises on the album. Tom Phillips explains: “Oh I’m sure it will be surprising in the same way ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’ was. We’re clearly not being pinned down to any genre at this point; it’s all nothing more and nothing less than ‘While Heaven Wept Music’. But even beyond that, I think the display of aggression will take some by surprise. There is also in fact another epic. That is not only a continuation of prior monoliths such as ‘The Furthest Shore’ or ‘Thus With A Kiss I Die’ but it’s also encapsulating everything we’ve ever done in one song. And yes, that also refers to ‘Vessel’ as well. It’s 21 years of While Heaven Wept in one song, and thus the single greatest composition of our careers … hence it’s title: ‘Finality’. But as usual, there are more meanings than one!”
Matthias Mader