An incredible set of post-metal compositions.
Released: 2nd October 2015
How could a record of the calibre of Deafheaven’s 2013 groundbreaking LP ‘Sunbather’ be topped? One that mixed disparate genres so effectively that it drew attention from all across the musical spectrum, even from people who don’t normally listen to ‘heavy’ music.
Born from the cramped conditions of a San Francisco apartment, ‘Sunbather’ contemplated light and dark in equal measure and offered feelings of hope and desperation for a better situation. ‘New Bermuda’ comes with a much tenser, confrontational mood aided by an expectedly crisper production. ‘Brought To The Water’ and ‘Luna’ introduce searing texture: galloping and soaring metal riffs against George Clarke’s arresting vocal performance, snarling surreal imagery grounded in metaphor, brought forward in the mix, and with more of a distinctive black metal phrasing than ever before.
‘Baby Blue’ and ‘Comeback’ are a step up though. Separated briefly by an eerie-sample led moment that’ll remind most of GY!BE, both tracks offer the most post-rock serenity heard so far, adjacent to the band at their most destructive.
It’s a shame there aren’t any standalone ‘interludes’ like the kind found on ‘Sunbather’, something that paid dividends to that record’s eventual form. Instead, Deafheaven experiment further on a fifth track, ‘Gifts For The Earth’, detailing a story of suicide at sea via an Interpol-esque indie-rock setting and a powerfully crushing refrain.
The beautiful melodicism that defined the band’s first record hasn’t gone completely, it’s still there on every track, just perhaps a little more scattered. This, a bleaker affair, might not be as uplifting as ‘Sunbather’, but this is still an incredible set of post-metal compositions that’ll move people nonetheless. James Fox