Thursday, August 11, 2016

Heaven Shall Burn: "Wanderer"

Here is some big mainstream death metal. It's melodic and slick with synths painting the backdrop. I do like how the vocals are produced on the stompy first song. The second song has an almost industrial groove to it and all the electronics that color the edges give this a late 90s sound. This is my first time with these guys, I think I ignored the 7 albums that come before this and wrote them off as Myspace metal. The drummer for these brand of band has to be good, and this guy is. The guitar riffs play it pretty safe and go for the lowest common denominator in terms of their metallic attack. The vocals are punchy in their angry ranting. Lyrically I have to ignore the more social justice warrior aspect . I don't understand how you can be a death metal band or be into death metal and not a big fan of the death and destruction you see on the news every day, which is a death metal song come to life. Empathy doesn't really have a place in brutality.

The cheese begins to creep into the guitar of "They Shall Not Pass" . The vocals get a little gritter in their lower growls. I have heard hundred of bands that sound like this, so I am waiting for moments that set this apart. There are a few more powerful grooves here and there, but the rule here is "cool riffs alone do not make a good song". They race full speed ahead into "Downshifter" which aside from the samples don't have much to set it apart.  By the time we get to "Prey to God" it's all beginning to sound the same to me. The more epically charged gallop of "Agent Orange' feels more effective to me. It does launch off into a very Slayer inspired tempo. "Save Me" finds them slow into a more deliberate pacing. This eventually builds into the more Myspace version of metal that has a Killswitch Engage type feel, without reverting to clean vocals. "Corium" and "Extermination Order" are one big blur of riffing that sounds the same.

With the addition of some cleanly sung vocals, they manage to make what they do work in a broader context and cross over into actually being good songwriters on the closing anthem. So they are capable of writing good songs, the tendency to dial it in with the conventional metal approach that their audiences might expect could find this as the band just dumbing it down to appease their fans.I'll give them a 6, which is generous since this isn't really my thing I prefer my death metal darker with rawer grit. If this is yours then it will make your day while sounding like everything else you listen to.


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