Heaven Shall Burn
Invictus (Iconoclast III)


2.5
average

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
May 18th, 2010 | 98 replies | 21,559 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A perfect example of how repetition and stagnation can make a good band stumble.

Whether you enjoy the style of German metalcore act Heaven Shall Burn’s sound or not, it is safe to say that since their breakthrough album, 2004's Antigone, Heaven Shall Burn have barely changed their sound at all. The dynamic but simple guitar harmonies and repeated chord progressions have gone through minimal change, only breaking away to something out of the ordinary on rare occasions. As the final chapter in the band’s Iconoclast trio, Invictus is an album which is supposed to bring the saga to a sweeping close, wrapping up their story with an unforgettable bang. Well, not only does Invictus fall far short of its aspired goal, it secures itself through hopelessly repetitive riffs and uninspired songwriting as the band’s most watered-down release to date.

Despite a small handful of harmonious, down-tempo bridges and a welcome return of the bass to the production values, the majority of Invictus is rife with inconsistencies. The album is at its best during the very beginning and the very end, with a virtually impenetrable wall of filler securely fashioned in the middle. The sheer brutality and unrelenting heaviness in “Combat” is particularly effective at getting the beginning of the album into the swing of things after the opener “The Omen”, while the absolutely astounding closer “Given In Death” ranks as one of the best Heaven Shall Burn songs to date. However, in between are a mishmash of b-sides from Iconoclast that neither impress nor entertain. The sheer lack of memorable riffs, the one-dimensional vocals and the intense feeling of deja vu are powerful setbacks which were bound to arise eventually considering Heaven Shall Burn’s stubborn determination to stick to their tried and true formula.

However, the influences of techno in the background of “Combat” and the incredibly out-of-character guitar solo in “Buried In Forgotten Grounds” help bring things back on an even playing field, as very minute but lasting hints of progression are scattered throughout the album. The string arrangements and the duet between Sabine Weniger and Marcus Bischoff during the final legitimate track “Given In Death” are immensely fresh and, combined with a desperate, almost epic atmosphere, serves as a perfect ending to the album. It may be too little, too late, though, because the clear focus on brutality drives the final stake into Invictus, and the way the band ignored the subtle and simple melodies which made their previous efforts so enjoyable (despite a lingering threat of stagnation) is almost unforgivable. Many choruses attempt at a melodic, epic peak but never quite achieve it due to riffs which are too familiar to each other to be effective more than once.

Nothing here is inherently bad, it’s all just far too average and too similar (albeit less interesting) than the band’s previous three albums. Bischoff still relies constantly on his harsh, layered scream, only breaking to spew out some desperate-sounding German lyrics during “Of Forsaken Poets”. While Heaven Shall Burn have improved on a few aspects of their sound (this is honestly the first Heaven Shall Burn album where I can clearly hear the bass), the majority of the run-time is focused on songs which are easily tossed aside as inexcusable filler. With Invictus closing the Iconoclast series, one can only hope that Heaven Shall Burn will take away the burned-out aspects of their sound and focus on the highlights of progression which are displayed here, because they are hugely promising. Until then, though, we are left with an album that, at its core, isn’t even close to what this band is capable of.



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user ratings (175)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The more times I listen to this, the more I think the word "average" is the perfect description of this album.


The 2010 disappointments continue.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Ponton
Emeritus
May 18th 2010



5787 Comments


Glad you kept the 3 though for yourself, and the review is great. Nailed it.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Holy shit I didn't notice you were promoted to contrib. Congrats Jared, you deserve it.

BallsToTheWall
May 18th 2010



44164 Comments


Deadlock's singer is on a song? Fuck yeah.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 18th 2010



5787 Comments


Actually, I think you deserve it too for all your dedication and improvement, from what I've read from others. Thanks man.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's also the best song on the album. Double fuck yeah.

Actually, I think you deserve it too for all your dedication and improvement, from what I've read from others.

Thanks, we'll see what happens ;)

bloc
May 18th 2010



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Damn, the comments on the news thread and now this review...I am very worried.

Digging: Messiah - Choir of Horrors

Nikkolae
May 18th 2010



4823 Comments


sounds pretty bland, but i'll still get it for the shits and giggles

sup bloc?

Digging: Clipping - CLPPNG

TheSpirit
May 18th 2010



17641 Comments


yeah this was pretty awful

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

bloc
May 18th 2010



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sup Nik

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Dark Tranquillity, Ikuinen Kaamos, and now Heaven Shall Burn. Hopefully Agalloch isn't next.

Nikkolae
May 18th 2010



4823 Comments


where have you been man?

bloc
May 18th 2010



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Crysis, don't forget to add Nevermore to that list : (

Me, Nik? I've been right here the whole time yo.

Nikkolae
May 18th 2010



4823 Comments


really? havent seen you around so i thought you was K.I.A.

Yazz_Flute
May 18th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

did Ikuinen Kaamos come out yet?

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5


Crysis, don't forget to add Nevermore to that list : (

True, but I've never been a big fan of Nevermore in the first place.


did Ikuinen Kaamos come out yet?

A couple months ago :P

Wizard
May 18th 2010



19304 Comments


A perfect example of how repetition and stagnation can make a good band stumble.

Thats seriously been their main problem since Antigone. This is no different than their last album dude hahahahaha. Excellent review nonetheless.

The 2010 disappointments continue.

Sorry, had to reiterate this for the kids!!!


Digging: Downer - Downer

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010



16299 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thats seriously been their main problem since Antigone. This is no different than their last album

I mention specifically what makes this different from their previous albums. Thanks Karl.

Relinquished
May 18th 2010



24878 Comments


Karl's looking out for the kids

Yazz_Flute
May 18th 2010



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha wow I just completely missed it I guess, getting it now though.

also I pos'd, i'm caught between a 3 and a 3.5 at the moment with this one but am giving it the benefit of the doubt for now.



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