The titans of German melodic death metal are back with a vengeance. Not content with just releasing a single album, the quintet made the decision to release a double album equating to nearly 100 minutes of new music. A bold move some might say given today’s commonality of singles and EP’s. However, Heaven Shall Burn have never been one’s to stick to tradition and continue to develop their sound.
The most prime example of this is on “Expatriate” which features a wide range of timbres across it’s near 9 minutes. There’s harsh vocals, spoken word in both English and German, orchestral part and pianos which all culminate in probably one of the most epic tracks on the album.
However, that’s not to say that all the old has gone. Instead, it’s been honed to pretty much perfection. The first four tracks on the album (“March Of Retribution”, “Thoughts And Prayers”, “Eradicate” and “Protector”) are a perfect love letter to the genre with the second in particular rivalling songs from genre stalwarts In Flames, Insomnium and others.
“What War Means” is where things get really interesting, however. This track has an almost blackened death metal vibe with the sheer speed of the drums and dissonant riffing fitting the title perfectly. If you’re looking for a slightly darker track and one that’ll no doubt get heads banging and pits started in a live show, look no further.
Opening up the second half of the album, “Children Of A Lesser God” goes the traditional melodeath route which, as mentioned before, has been perfected. “La Résistance” takes a completely different slant and introduces some almost ‘Eurobeat’ style synths and drum patterns whilst having harsh vocals throughout. Despite how that sounds, it actually works perfectly and is easily one of the standout tracks on the album.
The magnificent “The Sorrows Of Victory” follows on and like “Expatriate”, it’s a song that features a wide range of timbres and in many ways tells a story. Featuring clean vocals and guitars along with harsh vocals and distorted guitars, it can arguably be considered the epic track on this half of the album.
Continuing some of the musical themes explored on “What War Means”, “Truther” is probably the fastest track on this side of the double album with breakneck speed tremolo riffs and blast-beats that would give George Kollias a run for his money. This again is another track that will get those pits raging in a live show.
Finishing off the album, “Weakness Leaving My Heart” takes a very similar style to “Expatriate” and “The Sorrows Of Victory”, with orchestral instruments and pianos alongside the harsher instruments. If there was ever an award for best ending track on an album, this one would definitely be nominated, if not win. It’s a truly magnificent track and one which evokes many emotions.
Despite being nearly 100 minutes long, even after repeated listens the album does not feel long at all. The many different flavours of the band on display keep things fresh and further showcase the incredible amount of development the band has done between releases. Put simply, Of Truth And Sacrifice might well end up being considered Heaven Shall Burn’s magnum opus. It’s simply that good.
Header image by Candy Welz
Of Truth And Sacrifice is out on March 27th. Pre-order on Amazon to support this site!