Author: Tyler Dallman
From the very start, Deafheaven was a band that had carved out a unique chunk from the flesh of metal to call their own. Their music was primarily black metal but dripping with post-rock and shoegaze in a way that was unexplored. Each song on their full-length debut, Roads to Judah, in 2011, had all of the staples of black metal: shrieked vocals, dark tremolo picked riffs, and lightning-fast drumming, however, it had these huge emotional waxes and wanes that drifted over the course of each lengthy track. There were ambient intros, clean arpeggiated guitar interludes, and white noise that washed over riffs to bring songs to climactic ends. It was a sound that the band claims as theirs to this day.
Though their first release did not find much mainstream success, the band’s second full length, Sunbather, released in 2013, found them critical and popular acclaim. The band went from living on food stamps and losing money on tours (and losing three out of five members in the process) to selling out headlining shows and playing mainstream festivals. The band’s endeavor into an even more shoegaze-inspired sound on Sunbather left them with an audience dying for more.
And with each subsequent release, Deafheaven explores farther away from the mainland of black metal and becomes more comfortable in their sound. On their newest release, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love from July of this year, there are a plethora of Radiohead-esque solos that ride over the top of blast-beat choruses. Singer George Clarke’s vocals find more character and presence than in any album prior. And the popularity of the band is ever rising.
Deafheaven plays on Sunday, 11/11 in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. The chaotic mix of noise coupled with the emotional buildups that they create will resonate through the walls and make for an intense night. Be sure to bring earplugs.