Album in Review: Heaven Shall Burn – Of Truth & Sacrifice
Four years since their last album “Wanderer” Thurningia, Germany’s HEAVEN SHALL BURN return with their 10th full length album “Of Truth & Sacrifice” on Century Media Records. Released on March 20, 2020, this DOUBLE album features 19 songs at a total length of 97 minutes making it the bands longest album to date. This was also their first album to debut at #1 in their home country of Germany and has charted at their highest in many other countries. Like most of their albums it was produced by guitarists Alexander Dietz and Maik Weichert and was engineered by Alexander Dietz at Chemical Burn Studios in Germany. Artwork was done by the talented Eliran Kantor who has created amazing artwork for MY DYING BRIDE, SOULFLY, TESTAMENT, BLOODBATH, and many more.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN hasn’t really changed their style much over the years, which some would call Melo-Death some call it Death-Core, but with a double album they had the freedom to branch out a bit more. There are plenty of classic sounding HSB songs but also some curve-balls here and there, which needingly makes this double album quite diverse.After the epic intro “March of Retribution” HSB chug along with the classic heaviness that they are known for the next 5 songs which include “Protector,” “Ubermacht,” and “My Heart and the Ocean” of which there were videos for and will go further into depth with the videos later in the review. Some of these will be live staples for years to come as they are as top notch HSB as you can get. “Expatriate” breaks things up with an orchestral background and spoken word lyrics.
A few ragers later disk one ends with a mellow orchestral instrumental that smartly puts a cap on the first side leading us to truly be able to sink our teeth into the next disk which is where more of the diversity comes in.We start off with “Children of a Lesser God” which starts off strong out of the gate with a beautiful mellow part in the middle which leads right into the song that most stand out from the pack “La Resistance.” This electronic, dancy number has shades of Rammstein in the beat and approach with some background heavy guitar parts and, without being sellout-y, wouldn’t be unapproachable to the EDM (electronic dance music) crowd.
They waste no time going into the second most diverse song on the album “The Sorrows of Victory” which features guest vocals from fellow German Chris Harms of the band LORD OF THE LOST who provide a gothic singing style that works very well interspersed throughout the song.Other standouts on disk two are the NUCLEAR ASSAULT cover “Critical Mass” which features guest vocals from Matthias Tarnath of German hardcore band NASTY and, like the last song on disk one, disk 2 ends with a mellow orchestral piece “Weakness Leaving my Heart” (which was also the second part to the “Protector” video) that leads into an epic mid-paced part ending back appropriately on a mellow spoken-word section that is the perfect end to such a long, intense, and epic album.
This band has always been known for their music videos which visually bring to life their message and highlight key points in their lyrical content that support their stance against racism and oppression along with resistance of the system and the fight for animal rights.
The first video released would be “Protector/Weakness Leaving My Heart.” Combining two songs into one video “Protector” is an over the top 3d-ish performance video that has all the band members dressed up looking a bit out of place. The song cleverly ends with singer Marcus taking the green screen away and ending up with a somber black and white video tackling the topic of pollution. At a total of 13 minutes this two song video truly shows the variety of the album and forward thinking of this band.
The next video was for “My Heart and the Ocean” and showcased the Sea Shepard Conservation Society and the great work they do helping to preserve our oceans and it’s inhabitants. HSB has long been supporters of this organization and just released a line of shirts and hoodies where all proceeds go to Sea Shephard which are available at impericon.com/us/heaven-shall-burn.html.
Video #3 is for “Eradicate” and may be the strangest of the bunch. It is a tribute to the “Wakaliwood” films of Uganda and is directed by the creator of the “Wakaliwood” films featuring authentic actors in over the top action scenes and filmed in Uganda. The narration throughout the video takes away from the song but they succeed in highlighting another cause they are passionate about.
The last video they released was for “Ubermacht” and is a dark video channeling some Rammstein wierdness that transitions into them jamming the song in their practice space. Two very different vibes in the one video.
Heaven Shall Burn swing for the fences on their 10th album and knocked it out of the park. A double album featuring a whopping 19 songs that feature some soon to be classic HSB songs yet stepping a bit out of their comfort zone with some more diverse tracks and keeping with their cover song tradition include a cut from the legendary thrash band NUCLEAR ASSAULT. Lyric-wise this has everything they are known for/ speak up about and the music is as heavy, intricate, and riff-tastic as it has always been. The videos are as good as metal videos get and are a true testament to the creativity and passion of this band. 22 years on this band truly hasn’t lost a step. If I was to have one complaint would be putting “La Resistance” and “The Sorrows of Victory” back to back. These are both diverse songs that should of been spaced out a bit more for better pacing of the album.
Marcus Bischoff – Vocals
Maik Weichert – Guitar
Alexander Dietz – Guitar
Christian Bass – Drums
Eric Bischoff – Bass
For More about HEAVEN SHALL BURN:
For a deeper dive into topics ranging from the affects Covid-19 had on the band to their longevity to their influences more you can also check out our interview with guitarist Maik Weichert.