Heaven Shall Burn - _Deaf to Our Prayers_
(Century Media, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (
Following an impressive turn on 2004's _Antigone_, Germany's Heaven Shall Burn are back with their fifth full-length -- and if their last album heralded a step away from the band's hardcore roots, then _Deaf to Our Prayers_ relegates it to the backseat almost entirely. Even the now standard modern metalcore idiosyncrasies (chugging beatdowns, clean vocals and Swedish-style melodies) are kept to an almost negligible minimum.Instead, the quintet has opted for a sound that recalls a more traditional brand of brutality which on a consistent basis evokes a monolithic collision between Bolt Thrower, At the Gates and The Crown. Indeed, Marcus Bischoff's jagged-edged shrieks are sounding ever more similar to Johan Lindstrand, as he snarls his way through family-friendly ditties like "Stay the Course" and "Counterweight".This slightly shifted approach isn't without the odd misstep, as "The Greatest Gift of God" makes us so painfully aware. But on the face of material as poignant as this, it's hard to argue that Heaven Shall Burn haven't come full circle as songwriters; and if ever their aim was to drive home their positive messages with the blunt force of an anvil, then in _Deaf to Our Prayers_ they've created a musical vehicle that's supremely equipped to do so.
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