Album Review: Heaven Shall Burn – Wanderer

Heaven Shall Burn - Wanderer

Heaven Shall Burn have been one of the more successful melodic death metal bands, growing their fanbase and profile with each album. 2013‘s Veto was their most successful so far, debuting at the highest chart positions around the world in the band’s 20-year career.

This year marks the release of the band’s eighth studio album titled Wanderer, which is scheduled for the September 19 release via Century Media. Wanderer is a studio debut for a new drummer, Christian Bass, who joined the band in 2013 after the release of Veto.

Wanderer is a cathartic album, with Heaven Shall Burn unloading a variety of emotions while delivering a passionate performance. That’s especially the case with singer Marcus Bischoff and guitarists Maik Weichert and Alexander Dietz. Speaking of Bischoff, he has really stepped up his game on this new material.

There are some potent songs, especially on the first half of the album. Heaven Shall Burn are a force to be reckoned with when clicking on all cylinders, like on the blazing opener “The Loss of Fury.” It features galloping riffs and a varied performance from Bischoff that ranges from low pitched gurgles to throat-ripping screams.

Another standout is “Bring the War Home,” a bludgeoning song loaded with brutality. It’s really noticeable on the record that they have refined their intensity and brought forth a new sense of intricacy. For the most part, it seemed like they would go fast with their music and sometimes overlook the small details, but here they really took notice and upped every aspect of their sound. That’s easy to understand from “Passage of the Crane,” which has a full potential to be a fan favourite track to play in a live setting. The song’s instrumentation makes for perfect headbanging and meshes well with the vocals.

The record continues to move forward with “They Shall Not Pass,” a tune that is packed with intensity threaded through awesome riffs, melody line that is, well melodic, and rhythm section that is on top of their game. New drummer, Bass, delivers top performance throughout the album, and is a great addition for the band.

Riff-packed Wanderer continues its journey with “Prey To God” and “Agent Orange,” which have a thrash-y feeling to them. The latter, which is not available on the standard jewel-case and standard digital album, is a cover version of Sodom’s song. Comparing to the original, Heaven Shall Burn’s version is darker, tuned down, and modern take on the production makes it for a great addition to the album.

Wanderer continues with a short interlude which connects first seven songs with the rest of material on the album. Following “Save Me,” shows that the delicacy of a melodic riff is such an excellent foil to Bischoff’s vocal strengths. Weichert’s and Dietz’s comfort zones are in chug-thud and it worked previously but now they are being pushed outside of those brutal boundaries.

Another highlight from Wanderer is “Corium.” It encapsulates all that is metal. From the chugging riffs, to the “clean” catchy chorus, “Corium” will be an incredible track to witness live. “Extermination Order” is one of the instances on the album which illustrates Heaven Shall Burn’s melodeath roots. There is not a moment throughout the track for a breath – from start to finish it takes you on a ride through the depths of metal.

Concluding the album is “The Cry of Mankind.” The entire track plays through like a whirlwind, sending you in all directions. HSB have really mastered the art of switching up their songs at the appropriate points, between the softer parts and the more anarchic visceral moments.

Heaven Shall Burn have crafted an album that may take it’s time to strike a chord with the average listener, but once time has truly been invested will you be able to appreciate the more subtle and strategic arrangements that take this album for good to great. Wanderer is Heaven Shall Burn remaining as heavy and unapologetic as ever.

Wanderer is out on September 19 via Century Media. Pre-order it from iTunes.


1. The Loss Of Fury
2. Bring The War Home
3. Passage Of The Crane
4. They Shall Not Pass
5. Downshifter
6. Prey To God
7. Agent Orange
8. My Heart Is My Compass
9. Save Me
10. Corium
11. Extermination Order
12. A River Of Crimson
13. The Cry Of Mankind


* Maik Weichert – guitar
* Alexander Dietz – guitar
* Marcus Bischoff – vocals
* Eric Bischoff – bass
* Christian Bass – drums


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