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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 MetalReview.com