Review Summary: The new record further follows the line that "Antigone" started. That means nothing or at least not many new impulses though. Still, solid work
Antigone. That has been a bit over two years know. Heaven Shall Burn was the first Metalcore-ish band I really got into that is influenced a lot by Melodic Death Metal like In Flames
, while still maintaining a Hardcore-rooted attitude towards the world in their music. Back then I also considered it one of the most brutal and hardest pieces of music that I own. Which is always quite subjective, yes. But if you ask my friends, they will probably state the same. ;) Now, in August 2006, the follow up to Antigone
hits the record stores. I was looking forward to this record, no question. Not quite sure what I could expect though. Would it be a big change? If so, would it be to the better? What if not much changed? Would that be to the worse? Questions that can not really be answered with ease.
On from the first second it's clear who you're dealing with. If you know Antigone
, this is instantly familiar. The deep guitars with distortion that could move buildings, combined with the quite trademark raspy and evil screaming. Double bass drumming is present as well. From the first song onward the band introduces nice guitar leads, that bring a somewhat melodic touch into the mix. Without being overly melodic. In a way that is really necessary as Counterweight
to the rest. (Pun intended) Many of the songs are really brutal and disturbing for the untrained ear, like Tresapassing the shores of our world
. It just blasts forward, no prisinors taken. At the same time, the song displays the taste and ability of this band to use arrangements that have an epic touch. At about 3.20 the song gets quite mellow with some slight electronic elements over that. Paired with double bass drumming you get a hymn like lead guitar that really gives an epic feel. And as the guitar seems to fade out... BAM! The song goes back to the initial evil riff. If this got you off guard and unexpecting, you might just got served.
The band pushed this sense for epic parts further, not on all songs though. Where this aspect was not present on all songs from the precessor, it's the same here. Some just go on hard and low. Towards the middle of the album it seems to get a bit more mellow though, I'm thinking of the songs Of no avail
in particular. Don't get the idea that those songs are easy listening. They still have a hard edge, that's for sure. But they seem a lot more melodic than other songs and because of that easier to access. This contrast to the rest of the album is really nice, but holds some of the albums main negative points as well. Take the chorus in Of no avail
for example. If you listen to it, and afterwards to the song Numbing the Pain
of the previous album, you will find that certain parts sound very similar, if not identical. This is just one example for quite some moments of that nature I had while listening to this album. With songs that can sound more or less similar within the album, it's no really cool that some songs sound like they are altered versions of older songs. Not so cool.
The execution of the whole thing is excellent though. I love the drumming that is to the point, yet (as far as I can tell) quite technical here and there. He sets some great accents on certain parts of songs that you do not notice at first lisen, but when discovered quite impress. Like already mentioned, the guitar work is good, the lead parts are interesting and fit in perfectly. And you just have to like the multi-layered intro to Armia
. Vocals are as good/bad as usual. The screaming is good, but although some new pitches are explored (a lot deepper than usual on Biogenesis (Undo Creation)
for example), it's basically the same all the time. If you love it, you're of well. If you don't like the vocals in a way, I guess you will turn this album down fast. And though the production is good (if not even better than on the precessor), the bass as usually drowns completely. Barely noticed on any of the songs, it's the notorious problem of this genre that on the album, bass basically is not present.
If you see the world somewhat critical, you will probably like the vocals. From statements about being part of the counter culture, about the world in general, it's all present here. Funny aspect: You find a nice anti-MySpace song on here as well (MyBestFriend.com
). Which I liked lyrically a lot, as it basically describes what I think about the whole MySpace shebang. Real miss song: the final song The greatest gift of god
. As kick out track it seems a bit uninspired, and I find the monotonous choir that is basically about 60% of the song annoying VERY fast. Not really comparable to the fantastic closure The dream is dead
provided on the precessor. I have to admit though, the guitar melody of the song is great, just the vocals kill it for me. At least the song is the shortest here with 2.42 minutes among songs that run at 3.36 to 5.50 minutes max.
So, how about them question up there? Well, they are hard to answer, and depend a lot on if you know the bands previous stuff. The concept of Antigone
is developed further here, nice epic parts, melodies in contrast to the hard hitting guitar walls and never fading evil screaming. Good production. and with almost 50 minutes playtime a good amount of music for your buck. There are quite some similarities with the previous album though, and if you hoped for a progression to a somewhat different sound, you will be very disappointed. If you loved Antigone
to death, and hungered for more songs of that type, you really get a present here. Otherwise, this might be a miss for you. Because of the negative aspects, and because I hoped for some kind of change, I rate this one a 3.5 objectively, For the dedicated fan it might be a 4/5 though.
Counterweight (available for listening on the bands website), Of no avail, Armia, Mybestfriend.com