Deafheaven - _Sunbather_
(Deathwish Inc., 2013)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
It's a little hard to believe that Deafheaven have found an audience. Especially one that -- if you believe all the Internet hype heating up around the band -- adores their blend of uncomfortable musical bedfellows. Suggest to any bullet-belted longhair in the mid-'90s that corpse-fucking black metal would be lovingly paired with emotional shoegaze and post-rock, and you might've been knifed in a snow-crusted forest and left for dead.

Now Deafheaven are doing just that... and releasing it on hardcore-friendly Deathwish, Inc. for Chrissake. (Well, probably not for His sake.) This marriage of heaven and hell is certainly not without charm, but at times it feels somewhat forced. I don't care what kind of bed you lay George Clarke's screechy rasps on -- them's some violent vokills. And the blasting drums follow that hatred full steam, which means that the cleaner melodies and roller coaster chord progressions have for double-time it to keep pace. Post-rock was never meant to be hurried.

So what we've got on _Sunbather_ is a blistering riot enveloped in shimmering sun-kissed chords, chased by the deep breaths of the calmer moments strewn throughout the recording, especially the drumless interludes. While these ‘tweener tracks are no less tense or intricately meditated upon as their brimstone-scented brethren, they serve their purpose as reflective calm moments between storms.

It's hard to believe that Deafheaven's two full-lengths work. But they do. _Sunbather_ proudly follows up the promise/delivery of _Roads to Judah_, providing both explosive catharsis and insulating introspection in equal measure. Maybe this music was composed and played solely for the enjoyment of the band, but they've found their audience. And we'll meet them at whatever intersection they please.


(article published 28/7/2013)

5/6/2012 D Lake 8 Deafheaven - Roads to Judah
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