Heaven Shall Burn are back once again. They may have been gone for a while, but it seems the German metalcore outfit have been hard at it coming at us with none other than two discs worth of music. That’s right, twenty songs of hard hitting metalcore savagery. There’s plenty of the Heaven Shall Burn we have come to know and love here. Double bass drumming an screams a plenty which should do well to appease the fanbase.
It’s a strong start with the epic intro piece ‘March Of Retribution’. Intricate guitar work with stabbing drums fills the air with energy and anticipation right as ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ thunderously kicks in. This is Heaven Shall Burn, and they are back bigger, harder and faster making for a very exciting introduction to Of Truth & Sacrifice.
There’s plenty of those tried and tested Heaven Shall Burn moments throughout the playthrough for most fans to be happy with. ‘Protector’ is a slightly more up-tempo number with some serious moments of double bass drum work which has become a staple in the band’s music. Its clear as we start to get into the thick of the record, the band are sticking with what they know and do best. That is until you get to ‘Ubermacht’ and what could almost be a nod to fellow Germans Rammstein.
‘My Heart & The Ocean’ takes the crown as standout track of the record with its immediate sense of urgency. It feels as if throughout the track is making a dash for the finish and with all its riffs and melody, it’s a superbly crafted song sure to have the listener eating out of the palm of their hands and eagerly making a move for that repeat button.
There’s a mixture of feel and energy as we approach the beginning of the end with ‘Expatriate’ which feels like a call to arms. The mixture comes from its use of strings as well as piano. There are some heavy epic moments throughout the 8 plus minute journey. It is so far removed from being a traditional Heaven Shall Burn track, yet if you didn’t know who you were listening to, your wild guess would still likely be correct.
The great thing about Of Truth & Sacrifice part one is that it doesn’t suffer the same issues we have frequently seen in the past with other bands where having a solid first half and a skippable second half. Heaven Shall Burn tells us ‘What War Means’ in an absolute slammer of a track whilst closing out with ‘The Ashes of My Enemies, a piece of outro music peaceful and epic with the strings doing most of the work to see us out. The truth is, if this was the end of the album, there would be no complaints here.
Having a second discs worth of music on one album however has proven problematic for most in the past. They are found mostly to be unnecessary and filled with mostly forgotten about tracks. And whilst the second part to this may fall into this trap occasionally, there are some gems here that shouldn’t be missed. ‘Children of A Lesser God’, ‘Stateless’ are both phenomenal examples of what this band are capable of with the latter potentially being as close to perfection as the band can get.
Overall, plenty can be said for the quality music on this new record. Heaven Shall Burn and their rich catalogue of albums have just added a major player to the list and whilst we still may find ourselves going back to both Iconoclast & Invictus as frequently as we ever did, the band can sleep well at night knowing that in 2020 they gave us a pretty damn good alternative to anything in their back catalogue and with one as strong as theirs, that’s quite an achievement.