Review: Heaven Shall Burn – Invictus (CD/DVD Boxset)

Photo by Simon Büttner

It’s 2010 (Yeah I know it’s not really), the world is one year younger than it is right now, and Heaven Shall Burn are back, as good as they ever were. Released back in 2010, it is only now that I’ve finally got my hands on the band’s latest release (the snazzy limited edition boxset version too), Invictus.

The riffs are bigger than my penis, the drums louder than my penis, the vocals harsher than my penis, and the bass is more bombastic than my penis; but how does the album compare to Heaven Shall Burn’s other efforts? Is the boxset worth the extra dosh? Will it provide more pleasure than my penis? And will the lyrical content be more mature than my mature porn collection? Find out after the jump.

So what’s in the special edition boxset, I’m sure you’re wondering. Well, in addition to the Invictus album, you also get a live DVD filmed at an intimate concert in Vienna last year, with just 300 people in the crowd.  The band took on a 300 (the film duh) theme and dressed up as Spartans encouraging the fans to do something similar. As well as both these discs, you also get some additional artwork, a HSB sticker and HSB wristband. The last two I would totally find awesome if I was still 14 years old.

The CD:

Invictus starts as all HSB albums do; with a pretentious instrumental intro track consisting of piano and sweeping strings. Fans will know the drill, but basically the track builds and builds until it blasts right into the first track, and what a track it is. The Omen doesn’t quite match the brutality and presence of (2008’s) Iconoclast’s Endzeit, but is a great track nonetheless. It is the third track, Combat, however, that is the real stand out song of the album. The track is a monstrous force of pure brilliance, taking aggression, atmospheric electronic effects in the breakdown and a pummelling final conclusion that matches the climatic awesomeness of me in bed. True story you know… But seriously, last penis/sex joke, I promise.

So, the album opens well, but how is the rest of it? Well, good. Great even at times. But I guess that’s the only minor problem. The album remains consistent throughout, but it’s all very similar to the rest of HSB’s discography, and it’s certainly not their best album to date. It’s not a bad album by any stretch of the mind, don’t get me wrong, the band are fantastic as they always are. The album begins to falter a bit in the middle, although there are still some stand out moments, but things certainly pick up again by the seventh track, The Lie You Bleed For, and this quality remains for the remainder of the album, more or less.

If you get the Limited Edition boxset like myself, you’re treated to a special bonus track, a cover of Therapy’s Nowhere. Is the track any good? Yeah it is pretty good. Is it as good as the original though? I actually have no idea, I haven’t heard it. Yeah you’d think I’d actually bother to check it out, especially as I’m reviewing the album, but what can I say, I’m lazy. The song doesn’t really fit in too well with the rest of the album, but as it’s a cover and bonus track, I’ll let them off.

The final track of the album, before the outro instrumentation, is worth a mention. Given in Death is the most melodic of the album, featuring vocals from Sabine Weniger of Deadlock. The track stands out from the rest, and whilst many other critics have noted it as a highlight, I have to say I’m not too fond of the track. Weniger’s vocals kind of grate on me, even if she is a cutie, and as cute as she is, it’s about the music at the end of the day. Instrumentally however, the track is as good as anything else on the album.

Overall, Invictus is excellent, placing your balls in a vice grip and not letting go until the final note strikes. Vocalist, Marcus Bischoff is as relentless and ferocious as ever, providing some of his best lyrics and vocals to date. Again Bischoff takes on such controversial themes as war and social injustice with great success. Heaven Shall Burn once again raises the bar for all Melodic Death Metal bands, including their Scandinavian contemporaries, creating one of the most brutal and brilliant albums of 2010. Whether you’re new to Heaven Shall Burn, or have known them forever, there’s no excuse to not add Invictus to your album collection now.


The DVD:

The DVD is fairly standard, I must admit. Not that that is a bad thing, of course. It is, after all, only a bonus. But regardless, there’s nothing you can fault about Heaven Shall Burn live. The band pummel their way through classics from various albums, and even play their cover of Edge of Sanity’s Black Tears. New fans will find a great way to hear some of the band’s older stuff in this collection, all while witnessing it in an intimate live setting.

I’d spend longer reviewing the DVD, but I haven’t wanked in like one whole hour, so I can’t be bothered. As I said though, it is a fairly standard affair; you press play, and you get to watch Heaven Shall Burn play a 55 minute set consisting of some of their best songs. What more can I say?


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