Deafheaven - _Roads to Judah_
(Deathwish, Inc., 2011)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
Like Alcest? Then listen to Deafheaven.

Okay, that's unfair, and it's probably not defensible as a review. Apt, though. In fact, Alcest took the DHers out for a US jaunt during the first quarter of 2012 for a series of shows that promised sheer awesomeness, but which I missed because my weak flesh was riddled with disease (which sounds way more metal than "I was feeling under the weather").

So let's try this: Japanese sound beauticians Mono conjure incredible musical landscapes from lovely sounds. They can occasionally ratchet up the intensity, but aggression never really enters into it. Portuguese blackened back-breakers Corpus Christii will happily rip the ears from your head and frolic in the blood spurts that follow, but nobody would call their records pretty. Pour in ample amounts of both sounds, swirl them together as you would a good batter for marble cake, then smother the result with another whopping dose of each. Of course, I've chosen two bands that stand in nicely for the two palettes Deafheaven like to use to fill their sonic paintbrushes, but any pairing of windswept, panoramic post-rock and goat-slaughtering, violent black metal will suit. Explosions in the Sky vs. Gorgoroth. Why not? Red Sparowes vs. Leviathan? Bingo.

A glance at the score above, though, should make it clear that I'm not at all trying to relegate _Roads to Judah_ to boilerplate, heard-it-before status. This record slays. And it's out on Deathwish, a label run by Jacob Bannon of hardcore crossover heroes Converge -- which isn't entirely relevant, except to nudge the band further outside the parameters of the obvious. Put simply, Deafheaven's impact defies easy verbal description, which is of course a hallmark of any music truly worth hearing. The post-rock aesthetic played out its subtle brilliance quickly in the early '00s because much of its ethereal magnificence lacked a visceral anchor. Black metal rage has been mired in self-parody for rather longer. For a band like Deafheaven to successfully blend the scenes' strengths into vibrant and enchanting aural excursions is not only laudable, but a boon to the whole music community. If you haven't heard this record yet, you should.

Especially if you like Alcest.


(article published 6/5/2012)

7/28/2013 D Lake 8 Deafheaven - Sunbather
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