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Heaven Shall Burn Whatever It May Take

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1. Behind A Wall Of Silence 2. The Worlds In Me 3. The Martyrs Blood 4. It Burns Within 5. Implore The Darken Sky 6. The Few Upright 7. Whatever It May Take 8. Ecowar 9. Naked Among Wolves 10. The Fire 11. Casa De Caboclo 12. Implore The Darken Sky (classic version)
2002 Lifeforce Records
Our score 7

by John C.
2/8/2002

If Heaven Shall Burn is considered to be in the forefront of the European metalcore movement, then their latest full-length, "Whatever It May Take," should solidify the band's position there. This record mark's the unit's fifth release in three years. If you're unfamiliar with HSB, the band creates and plays metalcore that is much akin to All Out War. The CD starts out with a sample that sounds as if it were taken from some science fiction movie. One might initially conclude that the clip is from Star Wars, but it most likely isn't. Regardless, the sample builds up in anticipation and intensity because of the music (an orchestra) and the supposed firefight. The music then breaks into Slayer-like riffs, with plenty of mosh and crunch to boot. What sets HSB apart from All Out War, however, is their penchant for European metal, which is clearly present in the music. The European influences include guitar harmonization, driving single note picking (a la Darkest Hour), and healthy dose of melody. A lot of palm-muted riffing is used too, so that should satisfy dancers out there. The music, however, is not always monotonous. The band does mix it up a bit with some use of dynamics, most notably in "The Martyrs Blood," as well as some clean or acoustic guitar. There are even a few guitar solos thrown in throughout the disc, but they're not outrageous or improvisational jam sessions. Vocally, the singer could be comparable to Dan Weyandt of ZAO on some tracks, but there is some variation. The last song, "Implore The Darken Sky" (classic version), has the vocalist displaying his singing chops, which are pretty admirable as far as metalcore singers go. The production for this record is very, very slick. It might have been nice to hear more crunch and rawness in the recording, but it's not a big complaint. The band is usually tight musically. There is a point, however, where it sounds as if the drums and guitars aren't in synch in "The Worlds In Me," but that seems to be the only notable case. Lyrically, the band tackles a number of issues dealing with social injustice, the environment, and resistance against totalitarian regimes. They are challenging enough to make the listener think, while avoiding the soapbox preaching that may turn people off. Names, date of death, or quotes also accompany several songs that make specific reference to the aforementioned topics. The layout is pretty eye-catching. For those of you who are lucky enough to find the digipack (limited to 2000), it's basically a dull silver/chrome color that uses white for text, images, and the outline of the band's name (in stunning "metal font"). Once you unfold the pak, there are a bunch of skulls drawn in white against the silver that cut across the three panels (the band name is placed below the skulls in the center tray). If you look from left to right, the skulls end in a bright red blood splatter that also makes its way onto the actual disc. The interior of the lyric booklet contains pictures of people, political figures, and the band that are all blended into the background, which uses dark, military textures and colors (brown, black, green, etc.). Lyrics and such are printed in white. Bottom Line: While HSB may not seem overwhelmingly original because of the growing number of U.S. bands fusing hardcore and European metal, fans of the genre should definitely check them out. HSB do what they do pretty well, and it's a great way of familiarizing yourself with European hardcore-a scene that many listeners may not be exposed to. The album might seem drawn out at times (48 minutes, 30 seconds is pretty long for a hardcore album), but the songs are catchy and pleasing to the ear. For those who fond of European influenced metalcore, "Whatever It May Take" is a solid choice.

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