Heaven Shall Burn

Well here it is, German metalcore big dogs Heaven Shall Burn’s new full length, Iconoclast, their fifth overall. I remember digging quite a bit their last, Deaf to Our Prayers, where they dropped the majority of the core in favor of a more straight forward and vicious melodic death attack – I thought it was a nice step in the right direction. Here on Iconoclast, they’ve pretty much kept things the same, but have brought back some of ‘core elements, namely in the form of breakdowns. While I can’t say I’m too thrilled with this, as breakdowns these days all seem to sound the same, I must give them props for keeping things heavy throughout, unlike countrymen and fellow metalcore peers Caliban.

At 13 tracks (excluding the intro), Iconoclast is a tiring listen, especially considering there really isn’t a lot of variation to speak of – they go for the throat at all times. What makes this even worse is that they aren’t doing anything you haven’t heard before – pretty standard metalcore borrowing from the Gothenburg scene, adding breakdowns and vocals that straddle a thin line between a more death metal oriented approach and hardcore shouts, though keeping away from crooning and happy choruses. I don’t mean this to belittle the band, as they are excellent at their craft, and have some good, heavy riffs, but they don’t add anything new or exciting to the well over-saturated genre – I’m just tired of the whole thing, as I’m sure countless others are as well.

I can’t completely discredit Iconoclast, as there’s really nothing wrong or bad about it. It just tastes like vanilla – let’s just say that I wouldn’t be itching to switch the CD if a friend was playing it in the car. Fans of the band on the other hand, I’m sure will be more than pleased, as well as well as those who can’t seem to get enough of the genre, but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
March 5th, 2008


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