12 April 2014

Deafheaven - Sunbather


This is another case of a band just sailing past me; there is too much music at times and sometimes you get round to things many moons after it was all new and shiney.  However, this does not mean that it is not all new by the time you get to it.   For me this is a regular occurrence (if you have kept up with the blog for any length of time you will see a pattern forming) and it is with a sigh that I belatedly wax lyrical about the second studio album by American death metal titians, Deafheaven.  Formed in 2010, these guys have been making waves for a few years.  They have been a name I have been meaning to find out more about, but as usual time and other acts get in the way.  When this album came out last year it was incredibly popular, making many top 10 albums of the year and for a death metal act that is quite a feat at times.  So now it is time to find out what all the fuss is about.

Starting off with "Dream House", this album is immediately comes out with the summer being mixed in with the dark nights of winter.  It is such a strange mixture that for some people would be a step too far, but for me it is a very powerful and moving number.  It is all that I have been able to listen to for the last week or so and has made it very hard to be objective with.  The harsh contrast in the vocals and guitars is hypnotic and the frantic drumming moves this piece along at such a frantic pass till you have the Slowdive movement to a quieter pace and the song does not suffer for it; it makes a beautiful moment and leads into linking track "Irresistible".  It is a theme through the album that the tracks are linked between the tracks and it complements the main tracks.

Next up is "Sunbather" which brings the epic feel out with spades. At over 10 minutes in length, you are here for the long haul.  It has a feel of a battle is being waged in the skies above your head, there is rest bites but my deity it does take the listener away from the real world.  It is just building you up for the next proper track as they become longer as they go along.  Next interlude is "Please Remember" which has backwards keyboards, vocals and distortion that makes for great effect.  As a noise piece I have to say that it is like a hammer going through the head until the half way point where the acoustic guitar kicks in. It is a complete Jekyll and Hyde number.

Next is the standout moment of the album "Vertigo" which has something of with the haunting guitar and builds like a Mogwai release on steroids.  The scales of grandeur on offer for this track are nothing short of a crowning glory to an already spectacular album, also you do not hear a vocal until a third of the way through the song as well.  It is just all build until the release of noise, pain and bile from the pit of Satan's own nuclear stock pile of evil is dumped on humanity from a great height, then at the two third stage it goes back to haunting shoegazing melody and when the distortion comes back I feel like I have been sent to float with the stars in a sea of night.  I still have goose bumps each time I listen to this song and I cannot praise it enough. The final interlude of the album is "Windows"; this is like a horror film soundtrack and makes the listener feel uneasy with the oft-kilter noise, strange keyboards and samples of a preacher and cars.  Ending the album is "The Pecan Tree" this is the most traditional black metal track of the album (at the beginning at least), starting which an instant blast of acidic vitriol and anguish, coupled with a towering sense of loss and pain; this is a harrowing way to end the album with a sea of anger and evil that will stay with the listener for a long while afterwards. Of course they also have to change it halfway through as it normal for this band, but it is what makes this band special and different from some of the other post metal acts out there.

I love this album, and when I say love I do mean that it is a release that I have fallen for.  It is the only thing I have wanted to listen to for the last two weeks and it looks like it might make it into a third one as well.  It is crazy and unique, I cannot praise this enough.  The fact that bands like this exist in the current musical climate is brilliant as it does everything that I want in music; it is brave and challenging. What a release.

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a God

Top Track - Vertigo

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Deafheaven website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Alternatively, here is a link for you Deezer users

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