Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 9/5/2006
Heaven Shall Burn
Deaf To Our Prayers
posted on 9/2006 By:
For those of you that thought Antigone was a step back from the balls out ferocity of Whatever It May Take, you’ll be pleased with Deaf To Our Prayers. Well, at least the first half. Largely carrying over the huge guitar sound and thunderous drums from Antigone, this album starts off running with a series of pummeling tracks that leave pretty much every track off their last album in the dust. These songs still have a bigger emphasis on melody than their earlier work but, beyond your typical melodeath riffing, there’s a huge increase in tremolo picking accompanied by a near non stop double bass assault. I hate to confuse things by adding more monikers but this definitely gives the faster songs a bit more of a black metal vibe than the more neo-thrash of the past. A great example of this is “Trespassing” which showcases every element of their sound from a ripping tremolo filled opening to slower melodic passages to thrash tinged breakdowns capped by a sweet Metallica “Fade To Black” style riff to a black metal like gothic keyboards/double bass/tremolo ending. Put it all together and it’s basically a superior version of “Weapon They Fear” or “Voice Of The Voiceless” off their last record. That basically sums up most of the songs. They’ve taken the formula they laid down on Antigone and brought back some of the aggression they summoned on earlier efforts. Even when they slow the pace slightly as they do on track three “Shores Of Your World” they come up big with a haunting feedback laced harmonic riff that segues into the best straight thrash stomp on the album.
As good as the opening numbers are they don’t disguise some questionable choices on the song arrangement. It’s extremely front loaded with the four best tracks being the first four songs. Then they decided to put the two slowest songs back to back right in the middle. With one close to five minutes and the other over that mark, it definitely would have been better to space them out between some of the fast cuts to dampen the rather noticeable loss of momentum in the middle of this album. Still, despite some largely lackluster flirtations with moody piano/synth passages in the past, they’ve noticeably improved in this area, delivering some of their best slower material to date. The standout example, “Armia”, is cast from the same mold as “Numbing The Pain” off Antigone with a solid kick/drum bass beat slowly propelling the somber, densely layered melodic guitars forward but there’s some interesting change-ups, including a totally uncharacteristic American style monster groove passage and some mid-paced, tremolo laden double bass sections, that keep it moving forward instead of riding out the same riff at different tempos from start to finish. It ends with a grandiose blend of guitars accompanied by a dark piano passage only to have the guitars dissipate leaving the piano to continue its melancholy tune alone. They’ve always tried to add a bit more of a grandiose elemement to some of their work before but never quite succeeded on this level. After “Armia” they slug through three more full songs that have some choice parts but don’t live up to the promise set by the start of the record. Still, there are a lot of bands that would kill to sound as good as an average Heaven Shall Burn song.
If the songs were arranged a bit different I think this same set of songs would have made a stronger impression but even with some arguable filler weighing down the latter half, I still think this is a more consistent offering than their last album. The strength of the initial batch of songs, some of the best material they’ve to date, are strong enough to give this record a hearty endorsement but I’d love them to write an album that has fans making equally compelling arguments for why each different song is the best one. Instead it’s clear Heaven Shall Burn has the songwriting chops to write some exceptional material just not carry it through for an entire album.
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