Heaven Shall Burn - Invictus
Heaven Shall Burn have created something of a problem for themselves, in being from a long line of German bands trying to sound like a long line of Swedish bands in the over-populated melodic death metal style forged by At The Gates. But they have managed to survive fourteen years and now make it to their sixth studio album, and Invictus (the third part of their Iconoclast trilogy) is certainly one of the better ATG tributes I’ve heard in recent years.
When Heaven Shall Burn are set to “face-ripping” such as on stand out track ‘Combat’, they are a powerful, explosive force screaming out of the speakers; but on the flip side, when they take it down a gear on songs like ‘Sevastopol’ and ‘Of Forsaken Poets’ they fall into faceless mediocrity that is just a mite dull.
Penultimate track ‘Given To Death’ is an odd one, at times blistering and beautiful, before switching into a weak, soppy attempt at something more wistful and heartfelt. When vocalist Marcus Bischoff and guest Sabine Weniger belt it out over the crushing guitars this rocks, but the verses with just Sabine and some acoustic guitars lose any sort of momentum and feeling, despite Sabine’s wonderful vocal performance.
As this slightly patchy affair comes to a close it dawns that Invictus is a good summation of the band’s history: showing why they are still going after so long, yet destined to remain supporting actors on the scene. This album will do nothing to change either aspect of this, so expect to see them supporting the likes of As I Lay Dying and Caliban for a few more years yet.