Heaven Shall Burn

Iconoclast III: Invictus

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Heaven Shall Burn fans know what to expect by now -- Germany's premier metalcore band has been bringing the same mix of crushing hardcore guitars, throat-slitting death vocals, and epic sung choruses for well over a decade now with little sign of progression. Iconoclast III: Invictus is the final chapter in the Iconoclast trilogy (2008's Iconoclast I: The Final Resistance and 2009's live DVD Iconoclast II: Bildersturm -- The Visual Resistance rounding out the collection), and it is easily the least impressive of the three. Like all Heaven Shall Burn albums, Invictus fades in with a mix of aching strings, myopic piano strokes, and atmospheric noise, before inevitably bursting to life with an errant hardcore riff and Marcus Bischoff's deep guttural growl. Bischoff's death growls don't last long, giving way to the hardcore screech that dominates the rest of the album, while the increased black metal influence is noticeable in the smooth gallop of "Combat." Unfortunately, the group doesn't explore these new influences in any great detail and, despite the pronounced electronic input on tracks like "Given to Death" (with female vocals courtesy of Sabine Wenger), Iconoclast III: Invictus offers little that listeners haven't heard before, and better, from Heaven Shall Burn.

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