Heaven Shall Burn’s Antigone
is an anomaly in the metalcore world. You see, these five gentlemen from Germany use a formula of metalcore which contains no breakdowns, no watered-down, fruity guitar leads and don’t rely on solely frets zero and one to create their heaviness. Instead, the use of simple but effective melodies and a progression of chords and riffs which take advantage of the twenty-something other frets on their guitars coupled with a downright vicious vocal department to create an album which is not only inherently heavy, but also injected with subtle nuances that make it much more than just another album in a trend which has long overstayed its welcome.
is something different than what you’ve come to expect with metalcore. There are three neoclassical instrumentals, one being an intro and the other two being outro’s, composed by Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds. These three tasteful pieces accompany the atmosphere of the rest of the album with startling precision, and when you take some of the slower bridges of the album such as the one in the single “The Weapon They Fear” you can see a direct correlation in the sound. However, putting these moments aside, the remainder of the album is all about business. The politically charged lyrics talking about tyranny, animal rights, and anti-fascism make great fodder for vocalist Markus Bischoff’s eclectic and powerful layered scream which is quite simply one of my favorite voices in metal. The vocals are just as prominent and drive the music just as much, if not more so, than the guitars do. The riffs are fast, the chords are crushing and the hints of melody both powerful and effective. However, on songs like “Numbing The Pain” the heaviness takes on a slower, more doom metal-like aspect, with a piano piece driving the song instead of the guitar riffs.
The use of two outro tracks makes for an interesting effect, as after “To Harvest The Storm” fades away the album seems to enter another phase entirely. The three concluding songs, more notably the final two “Tree Of Freedom” and “The Dream Is Dead”, take things to a whole new level in terms of intensity, as if the album builds and builds in anticipation of its final moments. While the apparent highlights such as “The Weapon They Fear” and “Voice Of The Voiceless” steal the spotlight, it is often the less praised songs which make this album what it is. “The Only Truth” and “Tree Of Freedom” are some of Heaven Shall Burn’s best moments, yet they go wholly unnoticed. Amidst a production which sadly washes out the bass completely, the songs are otherwise mixed perfectly, with the drumming laying out a couple blast beats here and there and a healthy portion of double bass during selected riffs.
is easily Heaven Shall Burn’s flagship album, containing some of the band’s best tracks which amounts to their most accessible album to date. Each song is brilliant in some way, a feat which they hadn’t achieved before or since. It is the album which shifted their sound from the rough, heavier Whatever It May Take
to their more streamlined approach of today. It really got the band’s name out there as something to watch out for in the saddened state of metalcore, and to this day they continue to be one of the most interesting bands in the scene, something which can be directly credited to the sheer quality of Antigone