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Following a well-received run as main support for Trivium during their Australian trek in 2009, German melodic death metal/metalcore veterans Heaven Shall Burn return to our shores this month as part of the mammoth Soundwave Festival. Guitarist Maik Weichert gave Loud an update on their next record, festival partying, his favourite albums of 2011 and more.

Q: Are the band writing much new material at the moment?
A: Yeah, we are always writing new stuff; we all meet like once or twice a week and always try new stuff. I think we won’t be going to release the new record before about October/November this year. It’s going pretty good; I’m really excited about the stuff that we have so far. It’s developing really good; there is nothing there that we have to leave out at the moment, every riff we were thinking about was like really good so far.

Q: Will this album follow a similar direction to the past few releases stylistically?
A: I’m really sure that our fans that will listen to the record and will realise after ten seconds that this is Heaven Shall Burn stuff, you know? We won’t betray or have any compromise about our trademarks. But of course we’re going to enhance the sound a bit and develop it a bit like we did on the past records. But it won’t be like a total change of our sound or anything.

Q: The band is well-renowned for their uncompromising lyrics. Where are you deriving your lyrical inspiration for the next album from?
A: Well, I write the lyrics. Once in a while the other guys come to me with an idea and say, ‘what do you think about it? Could you write a song about this or that?” Then they give me something to think about and then I write it. I didn’t write so many of the lyrics for the new album already. I wrote like one or two lyrics and they deal with the way like multinational corporations (are) disturbing third world countries and other countries and stuff like that. Those are what some of the lyrics are about, but there will be definitely be other stuff as well. Again, it will all be very political and social-political stuff on there.

Q: What is the songwriting process like within the band these days?
A: The songwriting? I write most of the music and our other guitarist Alex (Dietz), he’s like kind of the producer, you know? He tells us if we should play this riff there, or maybe this part of the song would be better there. So yeah, I write the songs and Alex does that.

Q: Are there any newer bands that inspire your music these days, or is still a similar set of influences to the early part of your career?
A: Right at the moment I’m totally into this Icelandic band Sólstafir; I don’t know, have you heard about them?

Q: I haven’t, no.
A: Oh, they’re really, really good, you should check them out; they’re on Season of Mist Records and just put out a record. It’s really, really cool stuff; it sounds like Icelandic music, but (crossed with) black metal (laughs), it’s like really cool. That is kind of like a newish band where they totally stepped up to a new level, you know? And that is something that inspires me, as well as old heroes like Bolt Thrower or In Flames, they also inspire us.

Q: I’ll have to check them out then. Will Heaven Shall Burn be road-testing any new material at Soundwave?
A: We’re not sure yet, because we maybe have to have a stand-in drummer, because our drummer may not be making it to Australia and I’m not sure whether we’re gonna play any new songs there. But maybe, we’ll see how the rehearsals in a few days will work out.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about Australia then?
A: Oh, the warm weather; I hope that it won’t be raining too much (laughs) and stuff like that. The greatest thing will be to meet our friends again that we met when we toured with Trivium, and all the other bands that we haven’t seen in a while, like the guys in Black Tide, Times of Grace and a lot of the other bands, all the other bands we have already been on the road with. It’s like a big get-together, like a big reunion party (laughs). Our last (Australian) tour with Trivium, we just had a blast and we never expected people to be so much into Heaven Shall Burn and hopefully it will be like this again. Fans can expect that we give like 100 per cent and we are going to play as loud as possible. We’re going to play a few songs that Australian kids want to hear, (from) when they send us e-mails and stuff, so we are trying to build the set list a bit like that. So yeah, we just try to give people what they want.

Q: Which bands are you excited to see at the festival?
A: I’m really looking forward to seeing Underoath. I never saw them live, I really like their records and I’m pretty curious how they sound live. I’m also really curious about Watain and how they will be (laughs). They are one of the really extreme bands and I’m looking forward to seeing what they will do.

Q: Indeed. I enjoyed the last DVD Heaven Shall Burn released – is another one in the works?
A: I’m not sure about that. Last year we played a huge festival in Poland, with like 150,000 people in front of the stage, and that was filmed. Maybe we’re going to edit that stuff and release it. But I’m not sure whether we’re gonna do that as like the bonus DVD for the record, or if it will be like a real DVD, we’re not sure about that.

Q: The last time I saw the band was at a festival, Wacken Open Air in 2009 and the response was incredible.
A: Oh, wow. That was a great show, Wacken is amazing, mind-blowing (laughs).

Q: Definitely. Changing topics, we’re now a month into 2012, but what were some of your favourite releases of 2011?
A: That is always a tough question. I really liked Insomnium’s album, that was a really, really cool record that I’m always playing. Then there’s the Sólstafir LP, which really, really blew me away. The new Caliban record; I think that’s only released in 2012, but I already heard it in 2011 so it already blew me away then. And also the Primordial album was really cool.

Q: Any famous last words?
A: Yeah, people should come out, give us a chance and see us play – they won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Heaven Shall Burn will be touring with Soundwave 2012 on the following dates-
25/2: Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD (SOLD OUT)
26/2: Sydney Showground, Sydney NSW (SOLD OUT)
2/3: Melbourne Showground, Melbourne VIC (SOLD OUT)
3/3: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
5/3: Claremont Showgrounds, Perth WA