'The Weapon they Fear" available for free download: [url=http://www.heavenshallburn.com/]Heaven Shall Burn website[/url]
Some general impressions:
This is what the name and genre suggest: Music with heavy pounding guitar work, screamed vocals in the kind of 'Unearth' or 'Hatebreed', but a really nice melody here and there. Well, Metalcore, to say it in one word. The first song I heard was 'The weapon they fear', including the intro, in one of my favorite clubs. "Strings and piano, what the hell is going on...?" I was barely abel to end that sentence to a friend of mine, when the actual song kicked in. It was a mild culture-shock. Recently I picked up the album. And what an album that is.
The artwork is quite typical for the genre. Still, the name and the artwork are kind of a statement. The titel is not composed of the words 'anti' and 'gone', as you may think. It's a figure from ancient Greece. Antigone was the daughter of Oedipuss, buried alive for chosing humanity over the ruthless laws of the king. And that reflects the topics of the lyrics quite right. Many of the songs circle around fighting injustice, rising against lust for power, standing in for the innocent and voiceless. Good examples for that are 'The Weapon they fear', 'Voice for the voiceless' and 'To Harvest the Storm'. You could say, the more angry version of BoySetsFire. ;)
The musical work is solid. I like the guitar work. Heavy as it can be and suits the song, but clear and very melodic lead guitar, often with a heavy distorted rythm guitar in the background. Best example for that is IMO the melodic chorus in 'To Harvest the Storm'. The drummer releases a little storm here and there, and provides a rock solid base for the rest. The bass adds up to this. Well, not much varation regarding the vocals. Melodic chorus vocals like 'Killswitch Engage' are there, but only on one or two songs. And then, in the background as 2nd voice. He does his job well, and it fits the music, but don't expect any big suprises. But what can present you with little suprises is the use of other instruments. You hear a piano or strings playing a melody in some of the heaviest parts of the album. Small synthie elements, for example as Intro for 'Architects of the Apocalypse', or synthie like distortion use on 'The Dream is Dead' bring some different accents into the whole shebang.
What I really like about the album:
Hard, but not at all costs. That is really great. Heaven Shall Burn play with you on some songs. Take 'The dream is dead'. When I heard it for the first ime, my reaction was somehow like that: 'Heavy, wow....straight forwar... whoa, break,wtf? Clean guitar, mild vocals not what I would have exp...HOLY $HIT! Why did nobody warn me about that? Great, love it. :)' Though the music is very hard, the band manages it to combine it with sweet melody parts, that change the mood of a song from 'pissed as hell, big time' to 'Hope for a hopeless situation is just within reach'. So to say. The best example would be 'To Harvest the storm'. And, the energy behind this album is huge IMO. Even if they would only play with half of the energy live they show on this record, the show would be insane. Nice feature are the three orchestral like pieces, written by a friend of the band from sweden, Olafur Arnalds. He wrote track 1, 8 and 12. They give the recrod another twist, as the take a quick step on the brake, and create an intense melancholic atmosphere.
What was not so good:
As with many other metalcore albums too, the production swallows the bass almost completely. You can tell that he plays some nice variations here and there, and that he does his job. But you can hear not much of what he does. Same problem as with 'The oncoming storm' by 'Unearth' for example. When the passage is more silent, you can hear him perfectly. He does get a little 'solo' on 'The Weapon they fear', but when guitars kick in, it's as if he's gone. A bit sad for me as a bassist.
Plus, for some people the single songs could sound pretty the same, and thus boring. I thought that at first, but after a full listen or two, the songs develop their own face and sound. But if you're not that much into that kind of music, the beginning sounds very much the same I guess.
Looking for Metalcore that can meet up with stuff written by Unearth, Hatebreed and the like? Not afraid to let Non-Americans take that job? Well, if you answered with yes, you should check this guys out. Heavy guitars, great melodies, shattering screaming, twisted with classic orchestral components. This is by far the best in this genre I discovered since I first heard of 'Killswitch Engage'. Hands down. If you are into any of the bands I mentioned throughout the review, go over to the bands website and take 'The Weapon they fear' for a test drive. I'm sure, you won't be disappointed.
Though I don't think this is a good start into Metalcore. I have friends who like songs like 'My last Serenade', and similar stuff, but run away disturbed after hearing this. If you're just starting to get into the genre, keep these guys in mind, and come back to them later. :)
My song suggestions:
"The Weapon they fear" - From the first riff you know what to expect from the album. Yet, you'll be suprised. Good stuff
"Numbing the Pain" - This song has a melancholic on the first and macaber touch on the 2nd glance. Loading gun sound as intro to the song, plus the line 'Nothing is numbing my pain'...? Still, among the best of this record
"To Harvest the Storm" - One of the best, if not the best song of this album. The change between the verse and chorus is golden.
"The Dream is Dead" - Worthy end of this album. One of the best choruses of the whole record, excellent melodic guitar.
a solid 4/5, nothing less :thumb: