The rawness of Whatever It May Take
really drives home the point that Heaven Shall Burn are making. They are, and always have been, a very political band, and Whatever It May Take
is easily their most angry, most gritty, and most politically-charged album. Fitting, then, that Heaven Shall Burn’s sophomore effort is also their heaviest and most aggressive, because these attributes bring the sincerity of their message to another level entirely. The slicing riffs are both heavy in the rhythm and winding in the lead, unleashing melodies that have a bite to them due to the sheer weight of the crushing instruments backing them. The subtle catchiness of tracks like “The Martyrs’ Blood” works alongside the more overt leads of “Implore the Darken Sky”, or even the brutal aggression of “The Fire” or the soaring keys of “The Few Upright”, giving Whatever It May Take a depth that Heaven Shall Burn have yet to touch since.
This type of metalcore is hard to get right, because not only does its message have to be sincere, but the songwriting has to be up to par to support the weight of the lyrical inspiration. Not only have Heaven Shall Burn penned a masterstroke in terms of songwriting, they have produced it right and laid it out with frightening precision. The muddiness of the riffing lends a sense of deep heaviness to the record that is reminiscent of many death metal releases, accenting the relatively simple melodies in a way that gives them a lot more body than they may have otherwise. The band later re-released this record with a cleaner production akin to their later material, but with it they lost a lot of the attitude and effectiveness that the original pressing of Whatever It May Take
contained. There is rarely a break in the smashing instrumentation, but then again there is enough melody for the listener to not need one. Their cover of Point of No Return’s “Casa de Coboclo” showcases a vocal range from Marcus Bischoff that we have not heard before or since, with gutturals, punk-like grunts, and ripping screams that gives the track a huge boost of variety.
Amidst fierce drumming and punishing chords the bass is lost, but that is really minor given the grand scheme of things, because the guitars pack enough punch to carry the album forward. The order of the tracks is perfect, and the fact that it is worth pointing out is proof of that, with the more intricate numbers spread evenly around the short, brutal tracks. The uniqueness of tracks like “The Few Upright” - a short song at just over two minutes – with its impossibly heavy opening giving way to surging keyboards and a heartfelt explosion of screams from Bischoff is something that is completely out-of-character for this band, but in the best possible way. There are surprises all over Whatever It May Take
, whether it be a crushing verse, an unexpected catchy riff, or a fantastic cover song – the album stays with you long after it is over. I have listened to Whatever It May Take
more than any other metalcore record, and to this day there isn’t a more fully-realized work of art than this simple – but deep – display of pure, heartfelt aggression.