Heaven Shall Burn
Veto


3.9
excellent

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
March 27th, 2013 | 215 replies


Release Date: 04/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lady Godiva means more than just good chocolate on Heaven Shall Burn's return via a touch of regression

Change doesn’t necessarily have to be an earth-shattering endeavor. A band could just as easily throw in a few hooks, a few unexpected twists and turns and make the end product sound fresher than ever. Aside from being a relatively simple task, the risk of altering something in an unintentionally errant way is greatly reduced. If any band really needed some change, Heaven Shall Burn were that band. Since 2004’s Antigone, they have been walking the same path, rutting it deep and milking it dry. Their blend of vicious political metalcore sans most metalcore clichés – clean vocals and breakdowns, namely – was a great thing for people who wanted the genre in a more pure form than it has devolved to today, but as with many great things they don’t remain great after a lot of repetition. By the time Invictus came out things were dire, and many people noticed that Heaven Shall Burn just weren’t what they used to be. Gone was the muddy depravity of Whatever it May Take and the freshness of Antigone, and instead we had a pure and simple devolution in a fashion not unlike the metalcore genre as a whole. So what is a band to do in genre such as this with a predicament such as the one they were in? Apparently let things work themselves out, taking in a lot of the old while cleverly sliding in quite a bit of unexpected elements.

Ok, so Heaven Shall Burn haven’t really changed themselves entirely. This is still the same band that has been with us the past three albums, but they tidied their act up quite a bit. The band have always had a bit of a melodic death metal slant, and on Veto they explore that territory more than ever before. “Die Stürme Rufen Dich” and especially the brilliant “Like Gods Among Mortals” feature fantastic leads that add weight to their respective tracks, lifting the normally bland riffing of metalcore verses into a higher form of existence. Unlike many other bands in the genre, the melodic aspect of their sound is not some sort of glitter to make things sound all nice and pretty to an audience who otherwise wouldn’t quite understand the point to the music. Here it is fused at the hip with the bombastic drumming and crushing riffing when things pick up in intensity. Don’t expect cleanly sung choruses or moody bridges – with, of course, the most welcome exception of Hansi Kürsch letting his vocal talents ring across the cover of Blind Guardian’s “Valhalla” – instead, be ready to strap in and face what is mostly a wall of noise for fifty straight minutes. But that’s what we expect from Heaven Shall Burn, even more recently. What we don’t expect, and what we haven’t heard since arguably their best album Whatever it May Take, is that ability to combine both simple melodies and more winding affairs in songs that still retain an overall identity of pure anger and discontent. For me, that is a component that defines quality metalcore.

Of course, the album does stray a bit into territories it shouldn’t, with “You Will Be Godless” sounding too much like deathcore for an album like this. Maybe that’s a bit of Invictus leaking into the equation, but thankfully enough the song is an anomaly on Veto and is over with itself rather quickly. The sterile nature of Marcus Bischoff’s vocals have not changed a bit – and haven’t in over 8 years – and that is a bit of a letdown, but that doesn’t stop his tearing screams from being some of the most powerful in the entire genre. Speaking of sterility, the production itself lands too much in the clean room for anything this heavy. As is the case with most death metal, a squeaky clean mix does not lend itself to the overall impact of the record very well. There are moments on Veto where I was almost begging for the production of Asunder or Whatever it May Take (the latter of which was remixed a few years ago from its glorious, muddy original form to this type of travesty) , but never once did the break come. Sure, during tracks like “Beyond Redemption” I understand the need for the guitar soloing to shine with a crystal clear production, but “Fallen” or the explosive opener “Godiva” could be slammed into the mud and be much more at home. As it is, the bass is completely lost – a talent that the band seems to have mastered, as Eric Bischoff is rarely ever heard on their newer studio releases – so why not make the low-end mash together in a way that accents the heaviness that comprises their role, one that is so critical to the overall atmosphere of the album.

Despite these shortcomings, Veto is just a marvel. Put next to Invictus it is a masterpiece, and next to an album like Antigone it stands its own. Not only is Veto the best Heaven Shall Burn album since 2004, it is a leap forward for the band despite the fact that they really haven’t changed too much. They’ve brought forth more melodies, laid down a few impressive guitar solos, put in an extremely unexpected cover song utilizing a very well-played guest spot, and recovered the “brutality with a purpose” approach that they lost a few albums ago. I haven’t had a Heaven Shall Burn album on replay in years, but Veto keeps on spinning. It is far from perfect simply because there are some stragglers that reflect their recent hiccups, but as a whole it is far from where they were last time – a rise from their recent regression, and proof that they learned from their mistakes and took their music back to the days when the songs actually meant something. Heaven Shall Burn used to be like a more modern representation of the old values of metalcore – politically-charged, emotionally moving, soul-crushingly heavy – but after they gained some traction and success they lost their way. Veto is the album Heaven Shall Burn wanted to put out - needed to put out - because it is the definition of who they are as a band, a definition that in recent years has become quite blurry, until now.




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user ratings (185)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
fromtheinside
March 27th 2013


19029 Comments


this is what i like to hear HSB back in action especially after how boring invictus was.

i've been waiting for the answer to antigone and even iconoclast for forever its about time. great review.

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bloc
March 27th 2013


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really looking forward to hearing this. Last album was bland but the new song was pretty cool.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2013


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

The first single is a good track but really it's probably like the fifth or sixth best song on the album.

Willie
Moderator
March 27th 2013


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

This is the first time I've heard them, but I really liked this one. Great review.

Edit: This isn't out for another 30 days... you may have been a little over-zealous ;)

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2013


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Been listening to this constantly since I got it, had to write something about it haha

It comes out in parts of Europe on the 19th so more like 20 days ;)

Willie
Moderator
March 27th 2013


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Better early than late. Of course, it won't be featured until there's a stream or something so other people can actually talk about this album. Otherwise it's just me and you ;)

bloc
March 27th 2013


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ugh, that sounds awful

Tyrael
March 27th 2013


20946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would like to believe you Kyle, we'll see

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

someguest
March 27th 2013


21230 Comments


I like the album cover quite a bit.

I'll check this out soon.

Ire
March 27th 2013


41822 Comments


gd review have a pos

;3

Ire
March 27th 2013


41822 Comments


oops

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2013


16467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

love ur avatar it is truth

SadAndHolyGlow
March 27th 2013


1532 Comments


Can't wait for this album.

Digging: The Icicle Works - The Icicle Works

renegadestrings
March 28th 2013


1467 Comments


i'm wildly jealous that you got a copy of this early. i loved Whatever It May Take, Antigone, and Iconoclast, but I agree that Invictus was lacking big time. Glad to see em back in top form. will buy.

great review

MMX
March 28th 2013


4838 Comments


gonna have to pick this up when it comes out

Digging: Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2013


10362 Comments


Dem asscheeks

ViralOblivion
March 28th 2013


7679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet were overdue for a new great HSB album

CaptainHadouken
March 28th 2013


1960 Comments


Havent heard since listening to Endzeit. This looks legit.

Scoot
March 28th 2013


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

over/under on amount of layered vocals used

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

fromtheinside
March 28th 2013


19029 Comments


lol is that a srs questions



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