Heaven Shall Burn, "Whatever It May Take"
Ever since I heard Asunder, I immediately became a fan of Heaven Shall Burn. It was quite apparent to me that while other bands were in search of their niche in the ever-developing hardcore scene, Heaven Shall Burn was heads above most of their peers. Their style of slow to mid-tempo death metal with sick hardcore breakdowns set the standard for many of the current bands of the genre. It was also quite pleasing to see a young band pay its dues to the forefathers of the European death metal genre, with their cover of Bolt Thrower's classic, The IVth Crusade.
Whatever it May Take is the band's new offering of death metal influenced hardcore. First things first, the packaging job is of Whatever it May Take is marvelous. The CD comes in a silver digi-pack, with bloodstains on the inside of the cover as well as on the CD itself. This has to be one of the best looking digi-packs I have seen in a long time. Just looking at it made me salivate over the disk itself even more.
Well, what about the music? While the intensity of the previous albums is retained, the production on the new release is much better; the guitars are beefed up, and the drums sound punchy and thick. Unlike Asunder, which relied heavily on the slow tempo shifts, Whatever it May Take places a greater emphasis on speed. The opening track Behind a Wall of Silence, might be one of the best songs the band has ever written. Opening with almost a black metal shriek, this song took away any doubts about the quality of this album.
Every song on Whatever it May Take delivers the pummeling double bass courtesy of Matthias, heavy, shredding guitars by Maik and Patrick, thunderous bass by Eric, and absolutely vicious vocals of Marcus. His vocals are especially impressive, as he effortlessly switches from death metal growls [Casa de Cabocio] to black metal shrieks [Behind a Wall of Silence], to hardcore yells [It Burns Within], to clean singing [Implore the Darken Sky, classic version].
This time around, the band centered its lyrics on issues such as ecocide, behavior to handicapped people, and resistance to totalitarian regimes. Lyrics such as, "I won't become a tool, a puppet. I'll bite the hand that wants to feed me." [from Whatever it May Take], and, "No graceful look, no charming smile, fate has set me down," [from Behind a Wall of Silence], grip the listeners by the neck and pull them into the trenches where the war is taking place. These are all relevant topics in today's world, and combined with Heaven Shall Burn's music, the message comes across on a more effective basis.
While I am still hesitant to call Whatever it May Take a better release then Asunder, this record is a clear winner. The band once again proves that it belongs at the forefront of the modern hardcore scene and the band's planned US tour in 2002 should only solidify this claim .
Behind the Wall of Silence