(9/10) My first Heaven Shall Burn moment was "Endzeit". For many years this was, at least for me, one of the best songs the band ever released. "Endzeit" includes this apocalyptic rage, translated into a music experience that was and is outstanding.
2016 is the year that I had to revise this perception. "Wanderer" is a true competition for "Endzeit" since the album, their eighth release, is a terrific one. I even would go that far saying that "Wanderer" is the strongest release of the five-piece. The guys put the hardcore and metalcore a bit aside which, as a counter effect, strengthens the metallic parts on their new longplayer. "Wanderer" became a blistering sonic attack that shows the entire spectrum of Heaven Shall Burn.
"The Loss of Fury" begins silent and harmonic, almost as a kind of embedded intro. But it doesn't take too long before the song turns into a slowly creeping track that's dominated by Marcus Bischoff's vocals and heavy riff by Maik Weichert and Alexander Dietz.
"Bring the War Home" means shifting up at least one gear. It's a highly dynamic metal track that includes some metalcore parts by, in general, moving more towards death metal. The harmonic guitars reminded me partly of Amon Amarth.
A relaxed prelude marks the beginning of "Passage of the Crane" which is the next highlight on the album. Also to mention "Downshifter", a brutal six minutes masterpiece with a perfect mix of anger, despair, power and groove. Very well done I would say.
"Prey to God" instead is the most uncompromissing tune on the album, a song that gets, with it's grunts and growls, very close to pure death metal.
"My Heart is My Compass" is a kind of halftime break before "Save Me" kicks-off the second part of "Wanderer". And in case you have the idea that these songs are less demanding you're wrong. The quality, the power, the message and the brutality continues. Best song on the 'b-side' is "Corium" which comes with a more moderate pace and a true death metal expression. The embedded melodic parts give extra spice to this track.
The end is close whenh the first notes of "The Cry of Mankind" reach your ears and mind. With seven and a half minutes it's by far the longest track on the album. It's a My Dying Bride cover with a guest appearance of Sólstafir's Aòalbjörn Tryggvason who joined Heaven Shall Burn for some vocals. The tune is a dark and progressive one. It has a certain melancholy included, sounds slightly different than most of the tracks and is still 100% Heaven Shall Burn. Some parts of this interpretation made me think of German doom thrasher number one, Undertow. It's the way how the clean vocal parts are arranged which gave me this impression. However, these moments are just a few while the track a slow paced death metal masterpiece that is a champion on an album full of winners.
Also to mention the great artwork, done by photographer Christian Thiele. The contrast and the common features of the visual expression and the musical outburst couldn't be done better. The peaceful calmness of the artwork and the raging energy of the music go together as a statement for the wandering through chaos, change and clarity, finding some more inner peace.
"Wanderer" is big. It's a milestone in German metal, done by a band that belongs to the most important ones these days. Hats off!
- The Loss of Fury
- Bring the War Home
- Passageof the Crane
- They Shal Not Pass
- Prey to God
- My Heart is my Compass
- Save Me
- Extermination Order
- A River of Crimson
- The Cry of Mankind
Label: Century Media
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date EU: September 23rd, 2016