A fitting conclusion to the trilogy
What initially started with Iconoclast (2008), and continued through to the live album/D.V.D. Bildersturm – Iconoclast II (The Visual Resistance) (2009), is now finally being brought to a close with Invictus: Iconoclast III, Heaven Shall Burn’s last chapter of their Iconoclast trilogy.
On the German outfit’s sixth studio release, there’s little change to the sound and direction that the band initially started out with all those years ago, let alone compared to what was offered up on the first part of their current trio of releases. But what the German five piece act (who comprise vocalist Marcus Bischoff, guitarists Maik Weichert and Alexander Dietz, bassist Eric Bischoff and drummer Matthias Voigt) may lack in genuine experimentation from one album to the next, they certainly make up for in consistency.
In what has now become a familiar trait with the band, Invictus: Iconoclast III starts out with a rather short piano/strings based instrumental entitled Intro (which, like previous efforts, was written and performed by Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds), which is quickly followed up with the album’s first single The Omen. Pulverising and heavy (especially with the addition of bass within the group’s sound), The Omen is everything that Heaven Shall Burn do best in the one track, with both the band’s mix of metalcore and melodic death metal coming through in equal measure, and sounding impressive to say the least.
Following the opener’s lead is the fast paced Combat, where the band seems to up the ante in terms of driving aggression and sheer venom, all the while experimenting with some electronic beats to emphasise the songs heavier aspects (and with great effect I might add). Meanwhile, on tracks such as I Was I Am I Shall Be, the mid-paced and somewhat more melodically inclined Return To Sanity, Sevastopol and Against Bridge Burners are fairly typical in terms of what Heaven Shall Burn have delivered time and time again.
Buried in Forgotten Grounds is a noteworthy effort with its prominent melodic death metal sound and the inclusion of an outstanding guitar solo around the three quarter mark, while the beats/keyboards embellished The Lie You Bleed For and the anthem like Of Forsaken Poets maintain the high quality of the album around the tail end.
Finishing up the album is Given in Death, where the band really does branch out and experiment with a sound that’s a real departure for them. With the help of vocalist Sabine Weniger and guitarist Sebastian Reichl (both from Deadlock), and the heavy use of strings, Given in Death is very much a collaborative effort in the sound sense, with the song sounding like a ballad, but with plenty of aggressive melodic death metal to shake things up. While I praise the band’s willingness to try something new, the song itself isn’t quite as successful as I would have hoped, and kind leaves the album finishing on a sour note (excluding the final instrumental Outro of course).
Overall, Invictus: Iconoclast III is a solid and worthy Heaven Shall Burn release, and a fitting conclusion to their Iconoclast trilogy - even if it doesn’t quite reach the level of perfection the band achieved on their previous efforts.
(Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia)