Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer (Century Media)

Monday, 26th September 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

Ponder this: Why is American metalcore so often derided and frowned upon, while German metalcore gets off the hook? Case in point: Heaven Shall Burn. As perhaps the longest-running band of their ilk, Heaven Shall Burn (let’s not forget Caliban) have somehow been able to weather the changing shifts in perception toward their given style. While the band rode 2003-2006 metalcore wave with Antigone (still their best outing), they’ve hung around long after bands of a similar persuasion bit the dust. Apparently they’re Teflon. Therefore, it’s no surprise their eighth album Wanderer clocks in, and does its job.

Still quite firm on the Gothenburg riffing style, Heaven Shall Burn never double-down on beatdowns, clumsy clean vocals, or clean guitar interludes, which keeps the ferocity (for lack of a better term) intact. Sure, there’s some airy melodies that kick off “Bring the War Home,” while “Save Me” piles on harmonies like it’s 2005, but for the most part, Wanderer is heads-down and fast acting. Elsewhere, chunky rhythms and an overflow/barrage of double-bass cap off “Passage of the Crane” and “Corium,” while covers of Sodom’s venerable “Agent Orange” and My Dying Bride’s song-to-end-all-songs “The Cry of Mankind” amount to the only surprises out of the lot.

It’s somewhat European and/or German of them, but Heaven Shall Burn’s stand-firm sonically mentality has resulted in a career that has lasted longer than many thought initially would. Again, one can distinctly remember ten years ago these lads along with Caliban, Maroon, and Neaera providing the Germanic response to the whiny, cyclops hair-tossed yokels that were parading around America. Wanderer shows that Heaven Shall Burn are really here to stay, long after the metalcore party is over.

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