Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heaven Shall Burn - Veto (2013)

Heaven Shall Burn, since their inception in 1996, has made a long and interesting career for themselves. Every album they release improves on the last one. In the death metal genre, it’s hard to take the band in a new direction while maintaining the sound everyone knows and loves. It’s a secret that Heaven Shall Burn learned from the get-go. The difference from “Asunder” to “Whatever It May Take” is astounding. “Antigone” brought a bigger and more melodic sound. “Deaf To Our Prayers,” “Iconoclast,” and “Invictus” were heavier, more melodic and overall more concise than the first three albums. Heaven Shall Burn hit a high point in their career with “Invictus” that, after three years, is topped. Enter “Veto,” Heaven Shall Burn’s crowning achievement.

When “Godiva” kicks on after the intro, it’s clear that this band wanted to ditch the heavier sound that dominated them for years, and create a much more melodic sound that carries through the entire album. From “Land of the Upright” all the way to “Beyond Redemption,” there is not one bad track. Every song feels like it serves a purpose and isn’t misplaced. Marcus Bischoff’s voice has never sounded this good and the guitars have never been so razor sharp. The cover track “Valhalla” is a treat for Blind Guardian fans. It does the song the justice on so many levels; kudos to Heaven Shall Burn for making such an incredible cover song. The most notable track is the last one, “Beyond Redemption.” It’s slower than anything else on the album, but it’s their most melodic and ambitious song to date. The atmosphere in the song is unlike anything they’ve ever done and it’s a perfect end to an amazing album.

Heaven Shall Burn is going to have a tough time trying to top “Veto.” Well, actually, I thought that about every other album they made. If they continue to put everything they have into each album, they’ll remain unstoppable. Other bands wish they could sound this refined and cohesive. With this new one, Heaven Shall Burn has created an album that sets out to redefine the genre and everything they’ve done thus far. “Veto” doesn’t just improve upon the band’s formula, it makes a new one.


- Brian DuBois

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