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Monday, October 10, 2016

Review: Heaven Shall Burn - Wanderer


Heaven Shall Burn have pretty much been doing the same thing for ever now. But damn, they do it right. The new album Wanderer is not just more of the same, because like with every album it’s not fair to ignore the slight tweaks and variations. But the intensity with which Heaven Shall Burn still rips your ear drums to shreds stays the same. Love it or hate it, but as said, they’re damn good at it.

Now on to the tweaks and variations. This new album seems a bit more reliant on electronic influences, which becomes evident in the first song already. It is a big and almost orchestral piece not unlike the earlier album intro’s, but this one does away with Olafur Arnalds’ pianos in favour of an instant pummelling of guitars. The strings fill out the intro and sets you up for an intense ride, though the album gets up to steam rather slowly. Not until Prey to God does Heaven Shall Burn really put things in overdrive and goes all out.

Another thing that stands out is the use of more frequent double solos and the lack of tremolo-picking riffs that made Heaven Shall Burn so recognizable in earlier times. The tremolos have been switched in for a couple of madly awesome lower register riffs, but the double solos often break the tempo up a bit and go more towards some metalcore that I don’t like. The purist would already put Heaven Shall Burn in that little box anyway, but I refuse to do away with them like that.

Other than that there is lots to love on this album yet again. Bring the War Home has a intro riff that makes you piss your pants in awesomeness, and Prey to God just goes by so maddeningly fast that it’s hard to hold on. It loses all scruples of solos and just rips you to shreds for barely 3 minutes, which is pretty short for a Heaven Shall Burn song.

All in all, Wanderer holds up pretty nicely inbetween Heaven Shall Burn’s other albums. It is not extremely new but by now, do we really want something new? Don’t we just want these German weirdo’s to shout our heads off again?

Written by Frank van Drunen

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