Deafheaven
Sunbather


4.5
superb

Review

by csvhrvrnxell USER (7 Reviews)
May 24th, 2013 | 646 replies | 23,726 views


Release Date: 06/11/2013 | Tracklist


37 of 39 thought this review was well written

Since Deafheaven's untitled demo first caught the attention of listeners and bloggers back in 2010, controversy has increasingly swirled up wherever their name appears. While they are almost ubiquitously regarded as the poster-boys of the new wave of American not-so-black metal that has swept through the scene in the last few years, their music itself has been divisive. Purists largely reject the band's screamo-tinged and shoegazing approach to black metal for a perceived lack of authenticity, out of resentment for their supposed hipster fanbase, or simply because they are unimpressed with the results of the band's liberal songwriting style.

Mostly though, reactions to Deafheaven's music have been positive. Deathwish Inc. released the band's monstrous, blast-beaten 2011 debut album Roads to Judah to warm reception from many critics and listeners despite backlash from some black metal traditionalists. Judah's four songs were sprawled out over 40 brooding minutes of atmospheric metal, fusing hints of a depressive screamo aesthetic with head-in-the-clouds shoegaze and shimmering post-rock, all with one foot planted firmly in black metal. The marathon slabs of tremolo-picked melodies and blast-beats that made up the songs were overwhelming and unrelenting, and Judah was unmistakably downcast in tone and bleak in outlook.

Sunbather sees Deafheaven returning to the brighter colors and buoyant hardcore rhythms of their 2010 debut, this time employed with sure-footed compositional choices and a level of focus that reveals the band's deepening maturity as a unit. Those familiar with the band's previous outings will know what to expect aesthetically, and Sunbather delivers on the promise of the rest of Deafheaven's music. The album is aggressive, pounding black metal liberally smeared with sounds from the screamo and shoegaze canon, not wandering far from what listeners have come to expect. Not exactly, anyway.

Sunbather is an altogether different experience, still pounding, fast and aggressive stylistically, but with a mood and worldview that is completely singular. At times the music is reminiscent of the darkness that pervades Judah, but the majority of the album, its overarching statement, is remarkably, overwhelmingly uplifting. It is with something like ecstasy that Sunbather explodes from the shimmer of guitar that opens "Dream House," and it is a revelation. The exuberance with which the band tear through the opener's nine minutes is infectious, and "Dream House" feels like it rushes by in half that time.

This is true of the album as well, a blur of blast-beats, screamed vocals and pulsating guitars, propelled at balls-out speed into mid-paced emotional climaxes ("Sunbather") and quieter interludes, sometimes brooding (the Godspeed-like "Windows"), and sometimes peaceful ("Irresistible"). It is fitting that Sunbather is seeing release this time of year, because its strikingly warm tone is the stuff fantastic summer albums are made from, nostalgic and absolutely euphoric. When the band finish their slow climb in the second half of closer "The Pecan Tree," the jangly melodic hook that ends the album is a wonderful example of the band's approach in general, enthusiastically disregarding expectations and shining all the brighter for it.

While the sound of their older material is squarely rooted in the tradition of earlier bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Weakling, Deafheaven's screamo-esque vocals, hardcore immediacy, and general prettiness made them a highlight and an object of debate in the burgeoning black metal/shoegaze revival scene. With Sunbather, Deafheaven fly in the faces of their naysayers, releasing an album even more ambitiously dissident than past works and rendering petty debates over micro-genres meaningless. All we have is the music, and the music is fantastic.



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user ratings (1642)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
related reviews

2010 Demo

Roads to Judah

Comments:Add a Comment 
sniper
May 23rd 2013



18994 Comments


HYPERBOLE/5

stream:

http://pitchfork.com/advance/120-sunbather/

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

EaglesBecomeVultures
May 23rd 2013



5194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet review dude. this record is so good.

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

GringoSuave89
May 23rd 2013



1011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

zaruyache
May 23rd 2013



5909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review is very very good A+ thank you.

Digging: Sunwolf - Beholden To Nothing And No One

Dodecahedron
May 24th 2013



970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yes, very well written review. There's just something about this album that hasn't clicked with me, it actually seems like the songs drag on rather than fly by.

eternium
May 24th 2013



16304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Swag.

Keyblade
May 24th 2013



14273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

have this dl'd. guess i'm finally gonna listen to this band

Digging: Ishq - Orchid

sniper
May 24th 2013



18994 Comments


thanks bros.

hope you enjoy, keyblade.

Taxt
May 24th 2013



614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, I'm loving this

bloc
May 24th 2013



34679 Comments


Am I the only one who can't stop staring at the album cover? I never knew such a single combination of pink and white could look so damn good.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

zaruyache
May 24th 2013



5909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's all shoe-gazy indie dreaminess. I love the art.

Dodecahedron
May 24th 2013



970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Idk, I kind of hate it.

sniper
May 24th 2013



18994 Comments


so flamboyantly unkvlt. i love it

Dodecahedron
May 24th 2013



970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm not one of those elitists that hate on bands because of the image, but I just don't see that album cover fitting this kind of music at all.

Keyblade
May 24th 2013



14273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it looks gazy. i likey

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2013



8751 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

guys this is great and all but

auberginedreams
May 24th 2013



5995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like that you actually mention the screamo influence. it seems so obvious but nobody ever mentions it for some reason.

sniper
May 24th 2013



18994 Comments


noctus you don't like screamo you can't possibly understand the appeal

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2013



8751 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

i like envy which kind of counts

also i like the album so i guess i do understand the appeal [:

Keyblade
May 24th 2013



14273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

guys this is great and all but

Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn

agreed



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