Review of ‘Of Truth and Sacrifice’ by Heaven Shall Burn


Review by Ryan Murray | May 16, 2020 | Official Facebook

Heaven Shall Burn, an extreme metal band that combines elements of metal-core, melodic death metal and death core, originally from Saalfeld Germany, formed in 1996. 

I’ve heard of this band once before, but have never listened to them. Having browsed through some of their past works in preparation for this review, I can say that while their new release “Of Truth and Sacrifice”, a double album, definitely has some of the elements that I’m sure fans know and love, there also seems to be some risk taking/experimentation on this new work!

The name Heaven Shall Burn is also not a religious insult, but is meant as more of a metaphor for the “heaven” that many create in their minds when blinding themselves to the problems in the world. The band feels that these fake worlds created by our blindness should burn. 

Disc 1

March of Retribution
This 1:21 intro really sets the tone for this album and blends into the following track nicely! With electric guitars playing a light lead over intermittent punchy power chords, and drums that build throughout, this greatly gave me a picture of what was to come. 

Thoughts and Prayers
This up tempo song hits hard right off that bat with aggressive vocals, guitars and percussion. At 2:56, everything pulls back and there’s a light, non distorted, acoustic sounding guitar section which is really nice!

Lyrically, this song seems to be about the empty words that come from corrupt leaders and those in power. It seems to talk about the inaction, passiveness and apathy from those in power. It seems to say that since those in power refuse to act, this is the time to act in place of their inactions. It also seems to point to the fact that we yearn for leaders who are prudent, but that there are none left because they are all power hungry.

“We see the signs of time
And we will never rest
You ache for prudent leaders
But they’re all gone
We are the final resistance”

Eradicate 
Another gut punching start! With hard hitting riffs and heart pounding drums throughout, this track doesn’t relent! The riffs on this one remind me of All That Remains! I absolutely love the guitar solo starting at 2:43! 

This song lyrically seems to be about breaking free from oppressive tyranny and that we need to help those who can’t cry for help in fighting that oppression.

“There are no screams, there are no cries
Just dying souls and empty eyes
Their shadows haunting me
But their ghosts won’t break my peace
We had to fight this reign of terror
No choice for me, no choice for all of us, now”

It also seems to say that when oppression is ruining lives that we need to rise up against that oppression. 

“And I know that justice must prevail
Confront the tyrants, confront them all”

Protector
Another up tempo, metal-core style track with aggressive vocals. I love the guitar riffs on this track! I’ve already repeated this track several times, so it really grabs me musically.

For me, this song lyrically seems to be about protecting those that can’t stand up for themselves. Sometimes in standing up for what is right, it may feel like we’re fighting a battle all alone, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what is right. This song seems to encourage standing alone if needed to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. 

“Believe me
This is the very end
Still I am chosen
To protect and defend
Ride burning skies
Cross dying worlds
But after all, I stand alone
And fight this vital war”

Übermacht
The intro to this track seems a bit of a slight departure from past music from HSB. It almost gives like an NDH/dance metal vibe for the first :39 seconds before the drums kick in along with the guitars with a pretty straight forward heavy metal riff. At 1:01, it’s back to in your face aggressiveness. At 3:28, everything pulls back except for the bass and pads, along with a digital sounding drum beat and synth sounds. This builds right into a hard break down at 4:08! Also, some of the song is in German as well! 

Lyrically, to me, this song seems to be about how many people seek to take others down and how many have superiority complexes, thinking they are superior than others. It also seems to talk about surviving and not bowing down to those who seek to destroy us. 

“Days of the green wolves dawning
A new hegemony ascending, survive at any cost
Now you know, time wasted is time lost”

My Heart and the Ocean
I really like the intro to this song! For the :52 seconds of the song we hear a building drums and distorted guitars. Then at :53 seconds we get a really catchy metal-core riff which hooks me into wanting to hear it more! Another solid break down comes in at 2:54.

This song seems to be about the death of truth and what is right. We face a daily storm. Do we want to seek out truth? Or do we want to stay complacent with lies and deceit? 

“There is a storm so deep within my heart
Still raging and untamed, yet focused and upright
Raised by visions of the future
Now fueled by fury and hope”

As a society, we seem to not care as much about truth as we once did. We seem to walk around with blinders on oblivious to the things that surround us. We sit by and watch the truth be destroyed by opinions and feelings of hatred. 

“As truth was slain so ruthlessly”

Expatriate
This track feels pretty experimental to me personally, but I really like it a lot! It has a really different kind of feel to it! While it’s got some small heavy elements to it, it’s mostly made up of keyboard, strings and a synth drum pads with a different style of vocals throughout. The instrumentals are really quite beautiful to listen to. The best way I could describe the vocals would be to say it’s like aggressive and emotional spoken word. This song is in both English and German. 

Lyrically, this song hits really deep, especially the parts in German. I’ll put a rough translation below from google translate, but won’t offer any of my interpretations because I don’t want to cloud it.

“And like moths around the light
You keep dancing around the fire 
That burns the world, standing loudly laughing and yet Deaf and blind before an incorruptible judgment,
The light from the shadow that separates existence From non-being

Your battered heart, enslaved and cheated by false Dreams, delusion and unspeakable reason, finally Accuses you and your vain gods!
There is no mild mist of oblivion there, no cloth of Silence falls over all the doubts, all the lies!  Because Your knowledge never triumphed over your deeds, you Understood and saw, but never rebelled.  Here you Meet truthfulness, mercilessly.
But also fair and pure.

A cold, clear look in the still depths of your being.
From this abyss, wide awake, you stare at the eyes of All your fears and a thousand voices from your enemies Proclaim a high truth that probably never penetrated Your conscience: your leaders, your colors, all your Beloved states and everything that is sacred to you
Are nothing but flotsam in the eternal tides of Ascension, domination, decline!”

What War Means
Did someone say wall of death? Yeah, I could see that with this track! Aggression right off the bat. A mix of deep growls and hardcore vocals. The drums are very death metal like throughout the entire song, with what sounds like trigger blast beats throughout!

Lyrically, the band seems to be addressing wars that cause refugees to break out and seek shelter in other countries.  They do this to avoid the bloodshed and threats of poverty and homelessness with no security for loved ones. It’s said throughout the song that these wars are televised, but that we’re blind to it and don’t do anything to stop it. 

“An everlasting state of conflict, forgotten and remote
Disregarded and concealed
There is slaughter and bloodshed every day
Hunger, pain and forced migration
So far away from your safe homes
A world engulfed in violence
None of your fathers, none of your brothers
Sons and daughters lost in action
Self-sacrifice, a privilege just granted to the poor”

Terminate the Unconcern
This track starts out a bit more laid back with spoken word and synth sounds surrounding it. Then the drums slowly start to build to an explosive metalcore style song! I absolutely love the guitars in this one! I also love the short, melodic guitar solo at 3:46!

This song is about eliminating apathy and the never ending loop of empty words that seems to plague a good portion of the world. We all talk about a better future, but few are willing to make the changes needed. We need to unite as humanity and not be divided by hate if we want a better tomorrow. 

A fight for ‘tomorrow’
Means the uncompromising transformation of today
Before uneasy truths become just bitter certitudes
Yes, all must change to save the stays quo!”

The Ashes of my Enemies
This beautiful, laid back, yet epic and bold instrumental really stir up some emotions in me. This track with strings feels like it belongs in a scene of a movie showing the aftermath after violence, war and rampage have hit. This is a powerful ending to disc 1.

Disc 2

Children of a Lesser God
This song hits hard right away with an awesome metal core groove that’s also a bit reminiscent of All That Remains. There are aggressive vocals throughout with really solid grooves that get stuck in your head quite easily. I also like the section that pulls it back quite a bit that starts at around 3:21. Again at 4:52 it pulls back even more with just a light drum and very light electric guitar lead, which builds back into a heavy sustained groove to close it out. 

This song seems to be about a few things. Those in power that are corrupt, profit seeking, and look to destroy through their greed. It also seems to be about evil of equality/racism as well. If you read through the lyrics of the song, it goes pretty deep. 

“This is a man, scarred by injustice and defeat
Enslaved and kept away from education
Now so frustrated and distracted 
On their knees they beg for reform, they pray for rescue
To the masters of their earthly misery I swear,
I’ll throw just everything against my bitter fate!”

La Résistance
This track, to me, definitely feels more experimental, but it’s got a really cool sound to it! It also feels like it could fit into the NDH sub genre! This really reminds me of Rammstein! This track doesn’t disappoint, and I’d hope older fans would give it a chance because it’s a really cool track!

This song is titled appropriately, as lyrically it refers to resisting oppression and rising up against it no matter the cost. It refers to the ‘fearful calm’. To me, this refers to those who are being oppressed and are living in such fear that they stay quiet and don’t fight back. This song refers to being a spark to encourage empowerment to fight back against oppression.

“Only one spark to light the masses
To turn the fearful calm
Into a raging storm
To liberate this world
Unbroken, hard minded”

The Sorrows of Victory
Another song that changes it up a bit! This track starts off with a subtle lead guitar, followed by a laid back drum groove with guitar. We then get some clean vocals which kind of remind me slightly of a mix between Sabaton and Moonspell. There are some aggressive vocals throughout as well. 

This song goes through waves, both musically and vocally. You can hear the sorrow and agony. 

Stateless
With more a of a death metal sound, this track hits you right away with hard riffs, heart pounding drums and aggressive vocals. This song is relentless, and doesn’t let up at all until the last :15 seconds of the song at 3:34 we get a nice breakdown to end the track.

“My bitter truth!
I am stateless, just drifting loveless
Born into a dungeon and brought up by despair
Haunted by distress, isolated, dominated…”

Tirpitz
Starting off with spoken word, followed by heavy guitars and drums with a metal core sound and aggressive vocals throughout. 

Named after german admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the Tirpitz was a WWII battleship. The song refers to the Tirpitz as a steel cathedral that was dedicated to annihilation and destruction. The battleship was finally sunk by the British.

“Direct hits out of clear skies, 12,000lb armor piercing Tallboy bombs putting an end to her command. The death knell sounding over this iron tomb”

Truther
In your face death metal is up next! This song is aggressive and packs a heavy punch and doesn’t relent at all. This song has got some really catchy guitar riffs too! 

This song seems to be about the lies that infect our whole planet, as well as the lack of accepting responsibility for our ways – always looking to blame anyone or anything other than ourselves. Whether it be between friends, family, within marriages, or even within our government and leadership, lies seem to be a plague that won’t go away. Not only is it so easy to spread lies and deceit with all of our technology now a days, it’s even harder to fight the lies and to spread the truth because so many are apathetic and don’t care. 

“Mental overload and complete failure
Run like a common thread through all your lives
No, you never take the blame

Scapegoating
Stubborn, escaping reliance
Deny a social contract, no rational perception
Abhorrence of science, elevation of deceivers, hysteria
Infatuation!“

Critical Mass
This song seems to have a little bit of hardcore influence, along with some metal core riffs too. This track is also rather aggressive and you’ll definitely wanna warm up the neck for this one too! I absolutely love the guitar solo at 2:02!

This song is about how we are destroying our planet, and eventually, ourselves. We over use, we destroy and most don’t even seem to care. Governments can’t agree on what to do, so much greed when it comes to power/energy consumption and what we’ll do for our future.

“Slightly insane, the type of greed
That makes a world unfit for life
Toxic wastes destroy our seas
While poison gas pollutes the air
A waste of life, while no one cares
The earth becomes a giant tomb 
Critical mass will be achieved
And ruins will be all that’s left”

Eagles Among Vultures
This one begins with a synth like sound, followed by bass and drums. Then the guitars and aggressive vocals come in next. This track is a more more down tempo, but still manages to be aggressive, yet pulled back at times as well.

This song seems to be about the lack of empathy that society overall has towards the needy and the weak. Instead of standing up for them and helping them, society tends to want to just float right on by, only caring about themselves.

“There’s just no deference
Towards the needy and the weak
I see misuse of power, I feel regard declining
A community so disunited and corrupted
Only first law will prevail”

Weakness Leaving My Heart
The final track of the album leaves me in awe of what I just listened to for the last three nights while writing this review. The first 3:54 is all instrumental made of up of what sounds like synth pads, strings and keyboard. Really a beautiful composition. At 3:55 the drums and guitars join in with an almost straight hard rock groove, followed by aggressive vocals, but still have that underlying groove going with the guitars. The song ends coming back down again with some spoken word. This track is a perfect end to a monstrous double album!

Verdict 
Overall, I’d give this album a 4.0 out of 5.0! From metal core, hardcore, death metal and even some newer, what I’d call an experimental sound with some NDH vibes, this album has got it all! It’s got plenty of what older fans know and love to a newer sound that I think old and new fans can both really enjoy! If you haven’t heard “Of Truth and Sacrifice”, I highly suggest you check it out!

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