Before German deathcore demons Heaven Shall Burn wrote even a single note for Deaf to Our Prayers, guitarist Maik Weichert decided that the outing should be more intense and more menacing than 2004's Antigone. Weichert said he believes they've accomplished that aim.
"Most bands don't want to do the same record twice but want to have the same success with the record," he explained of the band's fifth studio offering, which landed in stores this week. "So they don't change so much about it. You never change a winning team. But we wanted to do a more brutal album. I guess a lot of people expected us to go more commercial, but we did the opposite: We played the most brutal songs at the beginning of the record, so it's like a punch in the face from the very beginning. We wanted to show people from the first moment that we didn't wimp out."
"More brutal" doesn't always mean "better," but Heaven Shall Burn are confident in the LP, and Weichert said he'd be shocked if the band's fans were somehow disappointed with Deaf.
"We expect that everyone who has been into us will love this record," he proclaimed. "We didn't betray our style or change the good things we had. We just tried to make it even harder, which is what our fans expect. We just hope for things — we don't expect things. You will never be disappointed if you just hope for things."
Weichert's got a lot of hopes for his band. He'd like to see Heaven Shall Burn's American fanbase swell and knows that it's going to take touring. So either this winter or spring, Heaven Shall Burn will embark on their first U.S. headlining run — the exact details are still being ironed out, he added.
There's always Ozzfest too. But he's not so sure the annual metal extravaganza would be a good fit for Heaven Shall Burn.
"I wouldn't say we'd never play it, but I see that stuff as some kind of mass product, and smaller tours, I think, are a lot better," he reasoned. "On the other hand, Ozzfest is such a legendary tour, and gives people an opportunity to see a lot of bands. So you have to see, as a band, how it is for you — whether you want to do it or not. I'd rather play just a few shows and be 100 percent for those shows. When a band plays 300 shows, sometimes you can see that those bands are just bored and exhausted. I don't like that. We'd rather go on tour with 20, 30 shows and give 100 percent every night than go on tour and waste ourselves."
Heaven Shall Burn will soon release a video for "Stay the Course," the album's first single. The mostly animated clip should be finished in the next week or so. "It's about writers and artists who have to go into exile," Weichert said. "It deals with that situation, of someone who has to leave his home and go somewhere for some higher end, and it's about missing your home."
The band also has a live DVD in the works, which was filmed during last year's Hell on Earth Tour, which Heaven Shall Burn co-headlined with As I Lay Dying and Evergreen Terrace.
"We decided to press the whole show — just this single show — on the DVD, and not do any post-production on it, so you can hear the mistakes, our stupid quotes, the screams from the crowd," Weichert said. "You'll get the feeling that you're right in this sweaty, tiny club, having fun with us. It brings the atmosphere of a Heaven Shall Burn show to your DVD player."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Vinnie Paul will co-mix the upcoming album by Seventh Void, a band featuring Type O Negative guitarist Kenny Hickey and drummer Johnny Kelly. Guitarist Matt Brown (ex-Supermassiv) is currently recording the group's yet-untitled debut, which is due in early 2007. The group also features bassist Hank Hell (Inhuman). Previews of three tracks — "Heaven Is Gone," "Shadow on Me" and "The End of Time" — can be heard at www.myspace.com/seventhvoid. The band recently opened two dates of a reunion tour by Carnivore, the band fronted by Type O Negative singer Pete Steele. ... Shadows Fall are getting down to business and have commenced pre-production for their upcoming, still-untitled major-label debut. According to drummer Jason Bittner, the band's been in full-speed-ahead mode for two weeks now and will be working on the disc with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver). "Nick was pretty stoked with our material and ambitions, and the band was extremely excited and impressed by Nick's ideas — let alone his never-ending enthusiasm. We put a solid six hours in the first day just jamming and revamping. Later on that night brought a well-deserved evening at the bar discussing what we would do once we got in the studio. We can't stop talking about how much we think Nick is helping to add some more dimension to this band that we never thought existed. But don't start worrying yet — we're not cutting our hair and selling out. This record is still going to be heavy as hell." ...
Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has contributed guitar work to a collaboration between American drone kings Sunn O))) and Japanese sludge masters Boris. Thayil, who appears on the song "Blood Swamp," also wrote the liner notes for the album, which comes out October 31 and is called Altar. A vinyl-only version includes the bonus track "Her Lips Were Wet With Venom," which features Earth frontman Dylan Carlson. Other guests include Joe Preston (High on Fire, Earth, Melvins), Steve Moore (Earth) and Jesse Sykes, and other songs include "Etna," "N.L.T." and "Akuma No Kuma." ... More bands have been added to the lineup for the forthcoming Saints and Sinners Festival, set to unfold October 28-29 at the Asbury Park Convention Hall Complex in — where else? — Asbury Park, New Jersey. All That Remains, God Forbid, Nora and Folly will join previously announced performers Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Every Time I Die, the Number 12 Looks Like You, A Life Once Lost and Full Blown Chaos. ...
The fifth studio album by Swedish thrash band the Haunted, The Dead Eye, is scheduled for release on October 31. The disc was recorded in Denmark at Antfarm Studios with producer Tue Madsen (Himsa, Kataklysm) and is the follow-up to the band's well-received 2004 album, rEVOLVEr. "This album is simply more diverse, dynamic and heavy as f---," singer Peter Dolving said. "Look forward to an album we're all extremely proud of." ... Guitarist Derek Vasconi, a founding member of Pennsylvanian metallers From a Second Story Window, has left the band — in fact, he's been out of the group for weeks. While there's been no explanation for Vasconi's departure, the band has revealed that he bailed back in mid-August. ... The release date for Swedish black-metal specialists Marduk's upcoming DVD, "Blood Puke Salvation," has been pushed back from September 4 to September 25. The effort will feature over 90 minutes of live material captured in Tilburg, Holland, and Antwerpen, Belgium, nearly two years ago. ...
Cradle of Filth bassist Dave Pybus and My Dying Bride singer Aaron Stainthorpe have contributed to the debut album by textural metal band Angtoria. The disc, God Has a Plan for Us All, was recorded at Sidelake Studios in Sundsvall, Sweden, and comes out October 17. ... Play bass? Want to be in a band with ex-Fear Factory/ current Asesino axeman Dino Cazares? Well, today's your lucky day. Cazares needs a bassist for a new project he's forming with Vital Remains drummer Tim Yeung and Vext frontman Tommy Cummings. Auditions will be held September 16-17 at Downtown Rehearsal in Los Angeles. Potential bassists should be older than 25, have tour experience and "long hair (at least shoulder-length)." To audition, contact Cazares through his MySpace page — and you might want to learn Fear Factory's track "Self Bias Resistor" while you're at it. The band will begin work on its debut LP next week, with a 2007 release planned. ... Hypocrisy's Andreas Holma has quit the band. According to a post on the band's Web site, the guitarist had claimed he isn't "motivated anymore" and is tired of touring. He plans to work on his own project but has not talked at length about it. In the meantime, the band will be touring with Darkane's Klas Ideberg on its upcoming tour with Fear Factory, Suffocation and Decapitated, which launches October 26 in San Francisco. ...
Lovehatehero have entered a Santa Ana, California, studio with Motörhead producer Cameron Webb to record their second album for Ferret Music. The yet-untitled album is scheduled for release in February. "This record will be very varied, with some heavier stuff, especially the guitar parts," singer Pierrick Berube said. "They are way more insane, with way more shred and a lot of good solos." ... It Dies Today have shot a video for the song "Sacred Heart," the first single from their new album Sirens, which comes out October 17. The video was shot in downtown Los Angeles by director Salzy (Mudvayne, Megadeth) and documents singer Nicholas Brooks' urge to kill his former unfaithful lover, whose name just happens to be Sirens. What cruel parents she must have. ... Betrayed have thrown in the towel, not even two months after the release of their Equal Vision debut, Substance. "Due to members feeling like they were compromising their integrity, Betrayed is no longer a band," reads a statement on the demise. "Our final show was played on August 27 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Thanks to all who supported us." ... Michigan quartet See You Next Tuesday has signed to Ferret Music and is getting ready to enter the studio with Andreas Magnusson, who has previously worked with the Black Dahlia Murder and Scarlet. The bandmembers refer to their music as "brutal music for brutal dudes" and admit that the group started as a joke in 2004. "I originally was playing bass and just decided to pick up the guitar on a whim," guitarist/ main songwriter Drew Slavik said in a statement. "Our drummer is a guitar player and our vocalist was given the job because he had cool facial hair." See You Next Tuesday's debut album is scheduled for release early next year.