It’s near midnight and I’m driving down New Hampshire Route 111. I’m not headed anywhere of importance and have no real sense of urgency. Not another vehicle for miles and the sole sources of light are the moon and the occasional lonely lamppost. The accompaniment for this very calming dark drive is Deafheaven’s latest, Infinite Granite (Sargent House). May seem a bit moody or even scary to others, but this drive and soundtrack make for a wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here moment for me.
Infinity Shred‘s Forever, A Fast Life (3DOT Recordings) is like if Health had their own interpretation of Deafheaven‘s Sunbather. Yeah, I never thought I’d type out a such a sentence and half of the readers have probably walked away at this point but hear me out. Again, imagine Sunbather, but only strip away George Clarke‘s corrosive vocals and replace them with copious amounts of synths. Again, not the best sentence to describe Infinity Shred, so I’m going to need you to put on some headphones and take this thing for a test drive.Continue reading
The only certainties in this life are death, taxes and Holy Roar not releasing bad records. With both Conjurer and Rolo Tomassi already blazing a trail this year, Holy Roar’s next world-beater comes to us from Denmark’s Møl, who may have just about perfected the whole Shoegaze/Black Metal trend with Jord (Holy Road Records), a record whose delicate intricacies are as emotionally devastating as its grossly incandescent rage.Continue reading
On an unseasonably warm start to the bleak days of November, Deafheaven rode into Boston to play the Royale Nightclub. The band is riding high on the strength of their recent album New Bermuda (Anti Records) and interest in the band, once a cult phenomenon is sky-high. Although not a sellout crowd, the joint was packed with the strange amalgam of fans you might expect by now: hipsters, old school black metallers, pizza thrashers, college kids and more. You might say it was a real melting pot concert goes, and giving way to the usual tribalism less diverse Boston shows sometimes get. The night was kicked off by Swedish blackened prog metallers Tribulation, who put on an amazing show. This is a band that continues to impress following their Children of The Night (Century Media) album early this year. We look forward to catching them again on the 2016 Decibel Tour. It seemed like Japan’s Envy had their own crowd in the house tonight. They were really vocal and made their approving presence known. That Envy is on tour with Defheaven shouldn’t be that surprising. Despite their hardcore roots, Envy is firmly ensconced in the post-rock/shoegaze majesty Deafheaven fans, and the band themselves clearly have an affinity for. Their show was a magical experience, with front man Tetsuya Fukagawa jumping into the crowd several times. It almost felt like they were the headliner themselves tonight. Lastly it was time for Deafheaven’s customary show of aggression, obscene volume, drone for days, bombast, light, shade, and very few words said to the crowd. Many intense glances from front man George Clarke sent the drooling crowd into overdrive. The band played a bunch of new songs, and some gems from the now classic Sunbather (Deathwish Inc.), but sadly nothing from Roads To Judah (also Deathwish Inc.). Despite the bands’ penchant for long, exploratory epic tracks, the set did feel a bit rushed through from my vantage point and ended in under an hour. Still, from tonight’s several minute chant for the band to return and play an encore (they didn’t) you can see why the band has risen so far, so fast. That is no doubt why many shows on the tour did sell out, including the last two this weekend at The Roxy in Los Angeles.
(Editor’s note: The editor staff of Ghost Cult acknowledges the story of Deafheaven guitarist Kerry McCoy and his past homophobic tweets: which we find deplorable and unacceptable. This review was completed before the story broke, and we await McCoy’s apology and explanation for his behavior.)
Deafheaven is the most polarizing popular band in metal since Ghost. While it’s easy to take a common side in the hipsters versus troo kvlt versus mainstream metal fans war, this is unnecessary. Good music is good music. This band has been putting out genre-redefining music for some time now. This is not disputable if you have ears and good taste. The fact that they have gotten as huge as they have and the backlash that has come with it only serves to illustrate what a time this is in the world as a music fan. Fifteen years ago this band would surely have had much less of a chance to come from the underground and become huge. Let’s measure Deafheavan on their merits, new output and their impossible to top 2013s Sunbather (Deathwish Inc.) album, and not some intangible stuff that has no place in the world of music lovers, shall we?
Rather than try to top their best album, they just continue to stay in their own bubble and build out the sound they started. So if you already love this band, there is a lot to love on New Bermuda (Anti Records). Opening up with the harsh ‘Brought To Water’, this track serves notice that this band is immune to the weight of outside influences or trolls. Blastbeats and waves of frotsy riffs greet your ears, before a straight up death thrash riff blows you away. George Clarke’s vocals are even more gnarly than ever before, and Deafheaven’s best asset has raised his already choice lyric game considerably on this album. ‘Luna’ is the track most in line with Sunbather and is a quintessential cut for this band. Black metal and shoegaze melded together to form something sick and lovely all at once. Once again, the Jack Shirley’s production aesthetics are immaculate. He is one of the most in demand producers for a reason. Guitars shimmer and scream when they need to, while the drums sit in the mix perfectly with the cymbals never taking away from the high-end of the guitar army.
‘Baby Blue’ is the best track found here. Fooling you with its sneaky dynamic power: lush post-rock beauty juxtaposed with destructive chords of death. The buildup and release of this track is overpowering. Clark reaches a new level of grotesque with his vocals, invoking the spirits of all of his influences. It also has an excellent thematic guitar solo part, that is more akin to Soundgarden or Metallica than USBM. The final outro of the track has one of the most righteous, head-nodding riffs* this year. ‘Come Back’ will surely be another one holdover fans fawn over, a lot. The final stanza of the track has one of the most righteous head-nodding riffs this year. Closing out with the shortest cut on here at 8:22, ‘Gifts of Earth’, the band puts a brilliant exclamation point on this album and in some ways, their legacy as a band. A sprawling mini-opus, one that tells us much of where this band can really go musically both now and in the future.
While not as groundbreaking or original as Sunbather, which any band would be challenged to follow, New Bermuda hits you in all the right G-spots musically and emotionally for one of 2015’s undoubtedly finest releases.
Controversial US Post-blackmetal band Deafheaven have announced their highly-anticipated new album, for release this October via Anti Records. In a one minute teaser trailer released by the band they hinted at a possible title of album being New Bermuda. You can watch the video at this link or below:
The trailer features serene beach setting followed the band in the studio recording. A bruising track plays behind the video. The new Deafheaven album will be the follow-up to 2013’s Sunbather (Sargent House) album.
Clever, irreverent, and controversial are just a few of the words bandied about when discussing San Francisco’s Deafheaven. The post-black metal experimentalists are seemingly unconcerned about labels and outside influences on their new album Sunbather (Deathwish). Ghost Cult scribe Sean Pierre-Antoine caught up with front man George Clark for a revealing interview.Continue reading
First off, that’s a crap album cover and a crap album title. Fortunately, what lies within album number two from this San Franciscan duo fares much better. The three instrumentals (placed between the other four tracks with vocals) are exquisite. Track two, ‘Irresistible’, with its clean guitar melody washing along on the waves of a gentle breeze, is exactly that. And the contorted electronics of the first half of track four, ‘Please Remember’, as well as the soothing guitar of the second, as disconcerting as they are, have a strange familiarity about them that stir something within that is deep rooted and has been almost forgotten. A touching piece, track six, ‘Windows’, again bears something mystical and transcendent, the soundscape created by its ambient keys and captivating samples is warm and alluring. Were Deafheaven to release just these three tracks as an EP, they would already be on to a winner.Continue reading