There is always something admirable about seeing a band continuously gaining steady momentum throughout their career. Even after 20 years, German extreme metal titans HEAVEN SHALL BURN are rising through the ranks as one of the most exciting bands in the world today. After their huge charting success with their 2013 record Veto reaching number two in Germany, HEAVEN SHALL BURN are determined to prove why they are still a hot prospect. Eight albums deep, their brand new record, Wanderer, is another huge step closer in the band securing a legacy they truly deserve.
The Loss Of Fury sets the tone for Wanderer, with its enchanting crescendo and stomping pace leading to an explosion of growling vocals from Marcus Bischoff. However it is only partial preparation for the unstoppable rally of the next three tracks. Bring The War Home reverts back to a style which HEAVEN SHALL BURN haven’t brought to light in a number of years – pure brutality with a thunderous, sharp guitar tone, demonstrating HEAVEN SHALL BURN’s ability to still be able to write a pummelling track with thrash and black metal influences.
Passage Of The Crane and They Shall Not Pass sees HEAVEN SHALL BURN experimenting with dynamics, switching from cleaner guitar picking and subtle atmospherics to sheer relentless heaviness and melodic nuances which make for some of the highlights throughout Wanderer. The rapid-fire staccato riffs in They Shall Not Pass are some of the most creative and bludgeoning the band has written in their career. Standing at six minutes long, Downshifter delivers upon the promise of a tighter rhythm section, as supported by the implementation of new drummer Christian Bass.
Prey To God encapsulates a blend of thrash and death metal in its most evident form, as well as HEAVEN SHALL BURN’s versatility, sliding between a plethora of sub-genres within the metal world. The jagged and bouncy nature of Prey To God is akin to melodic death metal act CHILDREN OF BODOM’s rhythm section. My Heart Is A Compass is a well placed interlude as it provides the ideal build-up for Save Me, which is a clear cut example of HEAVEN SHALL BURN doing what they do best, featuring some of the most exciting guitar playing, both rhythmically and lead-oriented, making the track a cut above the rest of Wanderer.
Corium is cohesive and has a irresistible gallop throughout, however it is slightly generic and not particularly groundbreaking, but with the calibre of Wanderer being so high, it is easily forgiven. The drumming in Extermination Order is enthralling and the most captivating part of the album. Extermination Order is commanding of attention and a song which will blow the minds of a live audience with its obliterating tempo and terrifyingly overwhelming musicianship.
The final two tracks, A River Of Crimson and the seven and a half minute epic cover of MY DYING BRIDE‘s The Cry Of Mankind bring proceedings full circle and provide HEAVEN SHALL BURN with one last offering of their diverseness. Lyrically, A River Of Crimson is the most eye-opening track on Wanderer. The Cry Of Mankind is a cover which has been well executed and does justice to the original, written by the doom metal band MY DYING BRIDE in 1995, with an added depth of modernness and raw emotion.
Some would find an issue with HEAVEN SHALL BURN deviating from their former influences, however with an album as sonically pristine as Wanderer, it is the best decision the German five-piece could have made in assisting them in becoming an unstoppable entity, as well as providing metal music with potentially the best album of 2016.
Wanderer is set for release on September 16th via Century Media Records.
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