Heaven Shall Burn has been around for nearly twenty years now. They’ve played many shows but also to many crowds. With the release of Wanderer they have expanded their repertoire to a solid eight albums. The German metalcore squad has definitely helped shaping the genre as we know it today. Plenty of people have seen them live, be it at a festival as you happened to pass by, or in a venue because you don’t want to miss any chance to see them. They’ve reached quite an audience with their music, there’s no denying it. The all too familiar red shirts have definitely left their mark on the scene.
As time passes by we all discover new music and our preferences get more refined. Some bands get lost in the deepest, darkest corners of our attics or basements. Somewhere in a cardboard box. Others we cherish and deserve a place in the nostalgia corner. Heaven Shall Burn is such a band to me. Once in a while I can enjoy an evening of that blazing metalcore. Every time I realise why I loved this music so much. With the release of their latest album Wanderer I decided it was time to go on that nostalgia trip and at the same time discover their newest work.
The sound is unmistakably Heaven Shall Burn, no doubt. With Veto they expanded on their sound and tried some new things. But Wanderer manages to bring back that old school sound. Like a vicious dog coming at you, this album is straight in your face material. The album goes from 0 to 100 really fast. The intro The Loss Of Furry feels like a marching beat. It’s a slow, cumbersome sound that guides you to the first song. From there Bring The War Home takes over. After some electric drums we’re greeted by those Heaven Shall Burn branded riffs. The guitar work in Wanderer is great and brings the melodic parts to life. Both guitarists are well adjusted to each other and manage to harmonize their sounds. Backed by a solid bass this delivers a very full, profound sound.
A song that really managed to get my attention was Prey To God. With an explosive sound and those wicked sliding riffs this song really is a solid one. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse brought his vocals along for this specific track. The combination of his brutal grunts and Marcus Bischoff his raw, high pitched screams feels almost natural. Which made this particular song really stand out. Frank Blackfire was also invited for a guest solo on the band’s cover of Agent Orange. And for their take on My Dying Bride’s The Cry Of Mankind they invited Sólstafir vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason for some of his unmistakable, beautiful vocals. Last but not least they had Nick Hipa do some extra shredding on Save Me.
All in all the album does what it had to do. It delivers a variety of songs with something for everyone. It brought back that old school feel in a couple of songs. We were treated with some great covers as well. Black Tears is one of their crowd favourites by far. And again they managed to create those covers with their very own sound, without being unrecognisable. Heaven Shall Burn truly delivers time after time when it comes to covers. With Wanderer they didn’t reinvent the wheel. They sticked to their own style which they’ve mastered over the years. But in a sense it’s lacking something fresh, something new that peaks your interest. I’ve listened to the album in two takes, because the second half of the album isn’t as strong as the first half, in my opinion. By all means, Wanderer delivers what it has to but didn’t blow me away.
Release Date: September 19th, 2016
Record Label: Century Media Records
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. Agent Orange
8. My Heart Is My Compass
9. Save Me
11. Extermination Order
12. A River Of Crimson
13. The Cry Of Mankind