Heaven Shall Burn

Antigone

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    8
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With their third album, 2004's Antigone, Germany's heavily touted Heaven Shall Burn finally get the international distribution (through Century Media) to match their world-level deathcore style, and its fair to say they grab their chance for all its worth. Following the softest, most delicate, and, well, wimpiest piano and strings intro ever ("Echoes"), the group truly launches into a vicious "The Weapon They Fear," which, along with like-minded outbursts such as "To Harvest the Storm," "Bleeding to Death" and "The Dream Is Dead" finds them inserting occasional clean-sung passages into their predominantly harsh hardcore vocals in a manner not unlike Americans Killswitch Engage. As well as suiting the group's socially conscious, at times even controversial lyrics with its added emotional depth (minus, thankfully, nu-metal's contrived angst), this approach also works well with the pre-existing melodic death metal elements in the group's sound. Already prevalent on predecessor Whatever It May Take, their Gothenburg-like economy and precision serve up a particularly mind-blowing trio of concurrent highlights in "Architects of the Apocalypse," "Voice of the Voiceless," and the positively scorching "Numbing the Pain" (which does anything but). And except for an additional pair of rather superfluous piano interludes ("Risandi Von" and "Deyjandi Von"), there's little to fault here -- an excellent effort. [This U.S. versions of Antigone features a couple of bonus tracks in death-fueled covers of Disembodied's "Dislocation" and Hate Squad's "Not My God"; a Japanese version was also released, featuring its own bonus track.]

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