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Gone A Bit Too Core - 55%

Five_Nails, October 3rd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Century Media Records

“Nobody's chosen to suffer, nobody's destined to rule,” these are the words that belt out in the song “The Weapon they Fear” which always gets me rock nodding and eventually headbanging to their break-beating chorus of “threw back-the baseness back from where it came”.

As a young high school lad I used to watch Headbanger's Ball late at night with Jamie Jasta of Hatebreed hosting a reboot of a show that had been relegated to the graveyard shift on MTV2 and was canceled after a few years. It was a ritual to rock out, find out about new bands, and end the week in a zen zone of my own. From that show I was introduced to the likes of Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Trivium, Devildriver, Demericous, and all kinds of bands that were riding the wave of metalcore's heyday. The show would feature some Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Satyricon, or Mayhem from time to time but metalcore and hardcore were the main focus of a network trying to cash in on the latest wave. The closest I got to black metal was Satyricon's “King”, the heaviest it got in death metal was Suffocation's “Abomination Reborn”. Though most of the content was music videos like “Embrace the Gutter” by The Autumn Offering, the show made it hit home just how big heavy metal culture is and helped to start a musical journey for this listener. Heaven Shall Burn was one in the long list of bands that fueled my metal journey and even then wasn't high on the long list. Having the full album “Antigone”, now has shown me how low on the long list they can get.

A German metalcore band that bridges on hardcore more than it does on metal, they really do bring some angst and rage in that opening badass song. Anti-fascism is a cause, sure, and I'm not going to rip on anti-fascism or fascism, or any political bullshit. Sorry anyone looking for some kind of great speech or political debate, that's not coming from me. I'm here to hear some headbanging music and Heaven Shall Burn brings enough of that in their main single, but the bands category on the tree of metal seems to be a place of contention with some people. I keep seeing the melodic death metal label thrown around a lot for this band, and believe me you're going to be disappointed if you're trying to find more than just hints to it in this album. The fleeting melodic riffs don't bring out their full potential and instead find themselves going back to breakdown chugging rather than sounding out their own place in the sludgy mix. This happens time and time again with Heaven Shall Burn's formula. “To Harvest the Storm” starts at a good clip, then breaks down, kicks back into gear, and then the cringe-inducing clean clean vocals turn the track into an absolute mess that has completely lost its way. Speaking of cringe, the album's intro and two outros are superfluous and don't lend anything to compliment the actual music. While these are worst offenders, I do like their opening to “Numbing the Pain” and the break beat into a shred riff style in “Bleeding to Death”, “Architects of the Apocalypse”, or “Voice of the Voiceless”. However, they make the breaks a bit more pronounced than I enjoy and the shredding doesn't have the substance that I'm craving. Sure these formulaic setups let them drop a heavy beat on you, but it doesn't give the songs the guitar payout they're hinting at with their fleeting Gothenburg riffs.

When it comes to Heaven Shall Burn, their music reminds me of how I felt when it came to many of the metalcore bands I was into early on. I got caught in the currents of heavy metal's latest tide and grew from the inspiration of my early metal days. The singles, the catchy tunes do work, but the band doesn't have the kind of substance I like about the bands under the surface that stand the test of time, and the ones that don't just ride the wave of what sells.

Get drunk and listen to this for some fun as it's not that bad when your senses are deadened a bit but in no way is this album groundbreaking. Instead “Antigone” makes me miss what I loved from Scars of Tomorrow, what captured me with God Forbid, and what bewildered me about Callenish Circle rather than want to hear any more Heaven Shall Burn.

Oh dear! - 25%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 13th, 2006

Heaven Shall Burn, a Metalcore band from Germany, and lets be honest shall we, they are straight up Metalcore, not Melodic Death. "Antigone" is the Germans third album out of four in total. Consisting of twelve tracks, weighing in at just under fifty minutes.

The most striking thing about this album is the vocals. They're generic and bland. Very typical of Metalcore. They do nothing to create an atmosphere or add any special element to the music itself. At times they're often incoherent screams which drowns out the music. It seems to me that Heaven Shall Burn are willing to settle for mediocrity, rather than pushing themselves to achieve something worthwhile and innovative. This is certainly neither of those things. Vocals rarely differ and when they do the result is Trivium-esque clean singing, which is just disgusting. Vocals are always loud and in your face. Vocals are always terrible.

The songs merge into one in my eyes. The only element of Melodic Death i can recognise is the cheesey riffs and overblown solos which they probably think sets them apart from everyone else. The result is a headache. The lyrics are like the vocals, often incoherent. I can't seem to make any real sense of them. As someone already stated, the vocabularly is poor. This to me often resembles something the likes of Killswitch Engage would churn out and be proud of, which is obviously just not good enough. Drum patterns are average, nothing really to write home about. The production is clear, but again the vocals totally ruin that aspect of the music.

Its impossible to get a good feel of the atmosphere that's present because of those damned annoying vocals. Nothing seems to fit into place because they're just so overpowering and overbearing. I really cannot stand them. Then we have the needless piano interlude, is that meant to be emotive and touching?

Highlights? I'm struggling to think of any to be honest. The Weapon They Fear is the closet thing to a highlight you will come across.

Heavy as fuck.. - 90%

Justin_Bork, January 7th, 2005

Heaven Shall Burn is by no means a 'new' band, as they've been around for awhile, and have a few albums under their belt, but their third and most recent album 'Antigone' is the album that will get their name out there. The songs are interesting, strong, and heavy as a mother fucker. Every instrument on this album is bludgeoning smash. The Drums crush, the kicks have that perfect 'thump', the guitars sound like the amps are tuned up to '11', the bass is low ended, and the vocals are harsh and loud. Simply put, few metal albums have production as good as this does, near perfection. Possibly Tue Madsen's finest work to date.

The songs are all politically themed, which doesn't really matter, because the music is so attention grabbing, you won't even care. This is a metalcore album at it's center at times it's hard to tell which side the band is leaning twoards, it has the riffs and songs of metal, with the assault and breakdowns of hardcore. Speaking of breakdowns, 'The Only Truth' has one of the best breakdowns. Ever. Alot of the songs DO sound similar, but they're all so awesome it doesn't matter. Like Meshuggah's Chaosphere, this album is an enbodiment of the term 'heavy'.

Every now and then, the ablums breaks off for a beautiful orchestrated piece which were composed by an Icelandic composer whos name I can't recall. These pieces kick off, and end the album. Beautiful.

Heaven Shall Burn are politically charged, and completely veagan. Not very "metal" but don't let that stop you from checking out this album, it's priceless, and possibly the #1 metalcore album of '04. Also, the albums bonus' tracks are uproaressly fun. Make sure you hear them.

uhhh, ok - 50%

demonomania, November 11th, 2004

I heard "The Weapon They Fear" on Hard Time Texas Radio, and did me some headbanging though my metal - hating father looked on disapprovingly from the driver's seat. Unfortunately, I picked this album up and found that "The Weapon They Fear" is the only really standout track on the album, aside from "Architects of the Apocalypse."

The vocals are good screaming hardcore style, but vary very little, and when they decide to sing that's when I decide to hit skip. As a previous reviewer said, they do layer the vocals, but this works very well on the hardcore style choruses, as all hardcore choruses are supposed to be a bunch of people yelling the same thing. The guitars and drums are fast, and there is a melodic Swedish feeling in there for sure, but after the fifth song you swear you've heard them do the same thing 900x. The lyrics would be of good quality, I think, if these guys took a few English classes. I am willing to overlook grammatical errors in amazing bands like GRAVE and the ENTOMBED, but with a band that annoys me I say, English teacher style...

"Work on your vocabulary!"

"Horrible sentence structure."

"Meaning unclear!"

"Subject - verb agreement problems."

And those horribly fruity keyboards don't help either. Again, just download "The Weapon they Fear," rock out to the chorus, "FALL BACK!", and call it a day.

Heaven is surely burning...with rage and metal. - 90%

CallerOfTheCthulhu, July 9th, 2004

With a name like "Heaven Shall Burn", many fans of metal will probably be lulled into believing this act is a black metal act. There was even talk of a "Slipknot" nu-metal scenario due to the woman having nails in her head like one of that band's members wearing a mask with nails in it. Have we all fallen pray to stereotypes and gimicks that nothing original can adorn a simple and creative title?

Blending both melodic death and metalcore, Antigone proves to be a true contender in the world of non-black metal and non-nu-metal acts. You are greeted with a haunting opening track, then taken right into one of the best songs on the album, 'The Weapon They Fear'. And after that, it is a non-stop ride into metal insanity.

Not falling prey to the whiney metalcore acts that flood the world today, the band still plays on the more typical topics in their lyrics, including hatred and rage, love, murder and death, while keeping their feet down to earth by blending in social issues that seem to plague us today. And the lyrics aren't simple, either. The band uses some pretty created, yet understandable analogies and lyrics to describe the aforementioned emotions.

Now, since lyrics do not make up an album alone, let's venture to the music of the album itself. Right from the start you can hear the metalcore influence, primarily with the vocals, not being your average deep gutteral or dark singing, but rather your typical metalcore vocals with what sounds like a slight hint of distortion every once in a while. Nothing new there. But the music does manage to blend both styles very well. One minute you want to start kicking someone, the next you want to mosh as the music either blends both melodic death with metalcore, or switches with slight trigger between the two throughout the song, such as in 'The Only Truth'.

The music is just non-stop insanity through and through. The only question that the album may impose to someone who doesn't read the lyrics, or isn't the brightest metal headed nail in the can, is why are there two outros to the album? And aside from that little annoyance of the CD ending half way through, and restarting to end again, sometimes the music doesn't synch up. Also in 'The Only Truth', you can hear the band switch from a metalcore sound into a death metal sound, just without the melodic part. The grums and guitars, at times, do not synch up with one another. You know the sound with you move a speaked back and forth past your ear during an amazing solo? Yeah, that's what it sounds like, except it doesn't work that well.

But, from start to finish you'll love the album. Though some of the album is typical (lyric and vocal wise), the music isn't truly the same as many albums of the aforementioned styles out there. Well crafted and performed pretty much with complete precision, the album is a blistering trip into a maniacle world of your typical metalcore topics, but in a much more creative and insane way. From the pulse pounding music from beginning to end and end again, to the haunting tracks (like the keyboard hinted 'Numbing The Pain') that adorn the album every once in a while, you'll be glad you spent your hard earned slave wages on this album.