Heaven Shall Burn – “Bring the War Home”
"Bring the War Home," the title of a new song by long running German melodic death metal band Heaven Shall Burn, refers to the motto of an American, John Jacobs. Jacobs led the Weather Underground, the militant left-wing student group that opposed the Vietnam War and also conducted a series of bombings in the mid-70s.
Given that, one might expect the song to condemn current wars, which it does, albeit from the point of view of a veteran. "I brought justice to no one," vocalist Marcus Bischoff screams before reflecting "and now I understand: there is no war to end all wars." That chorus, however, references "the war to end war," a phrase attributed to former President Woodrow Wilson.
If that sounds overly referential, well, that suits Heaven Shall Burn. All music in this style makes references, intentional or not, usually to At the Gates. That's the case here as well. "Bring the War Home" sounds an awful lot like Slaughter of the Soul. Bischoff and company like to display their other influences as well: Heaven Shall Burn tend to include (pretty good!) covers on their albums, including Killing Joke and Edge of Sanity.
That palate of influences is more death metal-tinged on their upcoming album Wanderer, on which "Bring the War Home" appears. Elsewhere George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has a cameo. Better, songs like "They Shall Not Pass" dive into full-bore Bolt Thrower worship. The meaner edge on these songs make Wanderer their best album since Deaf to Our Prayers ten years ago, even if "Bring the War Home" doesn't really hint at this new direction. And even without the rest of the record, it's still a good single from a band that mostly makes good singles.
I confess some bias. I agree with the lyrical sentiments of few bands, but Heaven Shall Burn speak my language and of course lyrics matter, especially for a band for whom expressing their politics is an integral part of making music. That's going to turn some people off. So will the fact that Heaven Shall Burn still make a style of metal that critics tend to turn their noses at. Extreme music isn't good at evangelizing, but it is good at edifying, which "Bring the War Home" does.
"Wanderer" will be released on September 16th via Century Media. Pre-order the album here.