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Invictus - 70%

KonradKantor, May 4th, 2012

So here we are again. Heaven Shall Burn is back with their wonderfully intense vocals, explosive breakdowns, melodic guitar riffs, politically charged lyrics, nostalgic interludes...and the same damn sound we have been listening to since Antigone. That was six years ago. Since then, an infinite amount of absolutely pointless arguments have taken place over the band's categorization. Not to worry, I have purposely withheld any mentioning of genre tags as the band's genre is about as important as your personal opinion on the matter. Heaven Shall Burn, although popular among the more weathered members of the metal community, is becoming a common gateway into the world of extreme music. Although the overall sound of Invictus shows no signs of the band's progression in the slightest, the album is well worth your time if you enjoy music that is packed full of pure adrenaline and raw emotion.

For me, listening to Heaven Shall Burn's albums has become somewhat comparable to purchasing firework assortments every fourth of July. Not every firework in even the very best assortment is worth purchasing individually, but weaker fireworks are inexpensive and have always been part of the fun. The fireworks with the largest payloads and most beautiful breaks, however, are always set aside for the more special moments and the grand finales, and are subsequently purchased for years to come. Once you've tested every last explosive device the firework warehouse has to offer, it makes more sense to only buy what you like, so that your evening is more enjoyable. Invictus is yet another assortment of musical pyrotechnics that contains songs you'll want to add to your permanent Heaven Shall Burn playlist, and songs that only add to the monotony of the band's discography. Oh, and let's not forget the cheap, shitty firecrackers that the manufacturer spills his coffee over, but chooses to package anyway. Yes, there's one of those, too.

There is not much else to say about Heaven Shall Burn's sound that hasn't been said in other reviews. The production is nearly flawless, with the minor exception of more of the electronic beat-making that was also used in Iconoclast. The song "Combat" contains a bit of these electronic moments and is actually one of the best songs on the album. This only goes to show that there isn't anything wrong with experimentation, per se (after all, experimentation is what this band is lacking in), but new techniques need to be used much more confidently. Perhaps releasing an EP full of these types of sounds is something Heaven Shall Burn should consider doing, as opposed to hurting the consistency of a highly anticipated full-length with sparse instrument variations. As for the turd in the punch bowl that I have yet to mention, "Given In Death" does feature members of Deadlock, including female vocalist Sabine Weiniger. I will withhold my opinion on it, but I certainly hope I don't ever have to conclude an Independence Day celebration with a 500-gram aerial repeater that only turns out to be a complete dud.

Originally written for

INVICTUS by Heaven Shall Burn (2010) - 74%

MystifyXD, August 17th, 2010

After I listened to Heaven Shall Burn’s previous effort, “Iconoclast” (reviewed last April 2010), I found it lacking and I promised myself to listen to this album since I want to know if they could do better. Well, we now have here the latest album from these German melodic death metallers. Metalcore tendencies still included. Well, not in a Whitechapel way, though.

Firstly, I have to admit that this sounds better. “Invictus” indeed has that thrill you seek (which is rather absent in “Iconoclast”). The melodeath riffs are indeed great (ferocity included), though the rhythms were somehow like “chugga-chugga” riffs. Some songs feature keyboards (and other instruments too), which definitely added up to the album’s melancholic factor. Another thing: the drums seem to jive with the rhythms, which, again, added up to the metalcore tendencies. Meanwhile, the vocals are still more similar to screams than grunts; no complaints though, since the vocals were performed reasonably well.

First, we have “Return to Sanity”, which sounds loud, with a little dash of melancholic goodness at its intro. “The Omen”, on the other hand, has its share of brutality done in a mid-paced manner. Meanwhile, “I Was, I Am, I Shall Be” sounds like a fast-paced version of “The Omen”. “Combat” has those techno beats in between but at least it sounded like variety, and definitely not crap. Last, but definitely not the least, we have here “Given in Death”, being the real (melancholic) deal here. With female vocals and a lack of distorted riffs (especially in the pre-chorus parts), they have made a serene-sounding song that is quieter compared to the tracks prior to this one.

What I don’t like here though is that this album, in essence, is just like “Iconoclast” itself (but I can’t blame the band for this, since they said that “Invictus” is the third part of “Iconoclast”). What we hear here is the same production and the same style that you hear and feel in “Iconoclast” (though this album definitely sounds better). Another thing is that some songs sound like other songs (though less prevalent compared to “Iconoclast”). Lastly, they could try having more variety in the vocals, like having grunts and/or rasps. Well, this album is worthwhile, as far as I know, and, well… just buy this.

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