Since Heaven Shall Burn from Thüringen in Germany released ‘Iconoclast’ in 2008, I thought they would have a very hard time topping themselves, or at least to evolve from their Bolt-Thrower inspired take on metalcore. They’ve proved that they were able to do that. Both with ‘Invictus’ (2010) and ‘VETO’ (2013) they were able to turn the dial and vary their style enough to remain relevant in an otherwise dying subgenre of metal. For that they earn a lot of respect, methinks.
Another three years have passed, and here we are: In a couple of days, ‘Wanderer’ will hit the streets. So, what is the status for HSB anno 2016?
I’d say that the eco- and politcally conscious Germans are still heroes in my world. ‘Wanderer’ is not a copy of any of its successful predecessors, although the characteristic sound of Heaven Shall Burn certainly prevails.
If I were to point out one difference I notice, then it’s a slightly more sombre, contemplative feeling than I’ve sensed before. This is somehow underlined by the inclusion of a My Dying Bride cover, The Cry of Mankind (with the aid of the singer of Sólstafir). Finally a ‘big’ band who pays tribute to this fantastic doom band and not the usual AC/DC shite! Well done!
Side note: I can see that Sodom’s classic Agent Orange tune is going to be on the CD versions that come out. Sadly, it’s not part of the promo package I’ve received – but I can’t wait to hear them do that (yeah, I’m an old Sodom fan, have to admit that).
Otherwise Heaven Shall Burn do what they do so excellently: They alternately shift between brutal rip & tear (see video below), Bolt-Thrower style waltzing like the effective They Shall Not Pass (oh, how brilliantly a double-tempo march fits into this!) and melodic riffing and harmonies.
In sum, I think Heaven Shall Burn are keeping up the steam and expand what they do slowly but surely. No great chances are taken, but they keep the kettle boiling and vary their material to an extent where someone like me never gets bored. Great quality, great energy, great stuff!
1. The Loss Of Fury
2. Bring The War Home
3. Passage Of The Crane
4. They Shall Not Pass
6. Prey To God
7. My Heart Is My Compass
8. Save Me
10. Extermination Order
11. A River Of Crimson
12. The Cry Of Mankind
Playing time: 52 minutes
Release date: 16th of September, 2016
Label: Century Media