In a little corner of modern Metal, Heaven Shall Burn have occupied a powerful position. Their raw energy and powerful vocals have run at the core of their music. It's actually hard to exactly position where these Germans have put their music. It's strong Metal, it sounds modern and does well for most looking for a powerful punch. Over the years their style has been confident and lends itself to purely screaming. Like a modern Chimaira or perhaps sitting themselves within Metalcore/Deathcore bands like As I Lay Dying, Whitechapel or Suicide Silence. They're known for energy and brutality. Of Truth & Sacrifice is perhaps one of their more ambitious releases, being a double album and despite what they are known for, like rumours, the truth can be quite different.
Underlying their image is a melodic side, quite experimental and the willingness to change, whilst offering beautiful harmonies around their brutal image. So, despite the fierce and aggressive vocals leading the energetic music, it may not be so surprising to find albums like this. An album that has the punch but intersperses this with very different and often surprising music. 'Thoughts and Prayers' taking over from their opener, keeps this idea in mind. Despite powerfully exploding into their music, it doesn't shy from having a melodic interlude. It layers their music so that it can unpredictably shoot from extreme to extreme. For more traditional Metal, 'Eradicate' takes a good spot, with layered brutality in guitars and drums. This serves as the undercurrent but the album really evolves when it gets to 'Expatriate' or 'Weakness Leaving My Heart', songs of atmosphere and industrial edged melody, almost out of place for the album. Close to the opening, ending and gap filling tracks on many albums, it instead allows a slow build up into more of the Heaven Shall Burn sound. It's odd, but it hits an emotional sidem, if you bear with it.
Finishing CD1 on a high note, 'What War Means' and 'Terminate the Unconcern' are powerful tracks with their traditional sound at heart. Powerful songs interspersed with some that are just experimenting and some that are barely scratching their mark. But this was just the first half. Double albums are ambitious, if for nothing else, for their scope. It's a lot to listen to and bands often wear their music thin over the running time. Band's and perhaps listeners can run to a fatigue. This is perhaps one of the bigger issues that Of Truth & Sacrifice contends with. CD2 continues the energy in 'Children of a Lesser God' but it's at its best when it incorporates sounds that make it sound like an industrial remix. 'La Resistance' is a perfect example. We also have clean vocals and spoken passages; these tracks shout out from the rest of the double album, breaking the mould but they can make or break the record for some listeners. It breaks it up and breathes new life into the beast.
At very least, it is worthwhile to see bands try new things and expand their horizons. The powerful Metal within Heaven Shall Burn is at the forefront of their sound. Not all tracks hit the mark and they push this to the fatigue mark before offering the songs that are, at worst, odd and off-putting, and at best, refreshingly amazing and wild. Ambitious, this is the very word. They have bitten off a lot in this double album and it's hard to know whether they can chew it or if we will hear the struggling attempts to swallow it; or, perhaps, the satisfied hunger of the beast that is, Heaven Shall Burn.