Live Review: Heaven Shall Burn

Barrowlands – 14/12

The Barras is having a stacked night when it comes to metal, with all sorts being on display. Carnifex’s deathcore is as unpleasant now as it ever has been; Northlane’s futuristic new-age soundscapes crossed with blastbeats is distinctly 2014; headliners Parkway Drive are in the prime of their swaggering metalcore career; and Heaven Shall Burn are the seasoned veterans of the lineup.

Heaven Shall Burn seem to have more, well, fun than a lot of other heavy bands. There is a tendency for metal to seem intensely serious, worryingly macho, deliriously important. That is not to take away from what HSB do, since they are very fucking good at what they do, but it benefits both crowd and band when the guys on stage are visually enjoying themselves.

Frontman Marcus Bishoff positively dances and grooves around the stage, howling and growling while twirling and jiving. He spends his time charming the front few rows, pointing at people, smiling, waving, making the set one of the happiest people have experienced while also furiously headbanging. He also appears genuinely touched to see someone in a wheelchair crowd-surf right to the front, clearly happy to see his positive vibes being echoed by the crowd.

That is not to say Heaven Shall Burn are not fighting the good fight when it comes to the important things in life. An entirely vegetarian band, ‘Hunters Will Be Hunted’ is not only a headbanging stormer but also a a condemning attack on those who would hurt animals for sport.

Indeed, even at their angriest, their anger is constructive and aiming for a better future. They are in a dialogue with world events, engaging them with furious blastbeats and more riffs than a Pantera buffet. And they make it look easy.

It would not be lying to say people did not come here to see Heaven Shall Burn. The amount of Northlane and Parkway Drive t-shirts back that up. Over a 50 minute set, they made believers out of everyone. Heaven Shall Burn perform the kind of sets metal bands should be aiming for – fun and positive without losing any of that drive that connects people to metal in the first place.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

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