Review Summary: transcend or be washed away by the awe-inspiring ocean of light
Deafheaven's 2013 masterwork Sunbather
may quite possibly be the greatest documented piece of art ever conceived by mortals. Never has a record achieved such a profound level of emotional transcendence as what has been put on display here by Kerry McCoy, George Clarke, and the other sonic masterminds in the quintet. Through stunning layers of blissful noise resembling guitars, the tortured, anguished screams of a man dying to be a young girl laying on her front lawn on a towel (?), and furiously repetitive drumming, the collective genius that is Deafheaven has crafted an album unlike anything that could have ever been even a twinkle in the eye of black metal's previously undisputed overlords, Wolves in the Throne Room.
"You fool! This isn't even black metal!", I have heard many an internet metal nerd cry out. I agree! Of course it isn't. There may be a huge abundance of tremolo-picked guitar riffs, blastbeats, indistinguishable high-pitched shrieks, and long, repetitive song structures, but how could anything that has been featured in an Apple keynote and accepted by people with social lives even be related
to black metal?! Some people have pigeonholed the album as "heavy shoegaze" or "psychedelic screamo", but the four main songs on Sunbather
transcend the concept of genre completely. I'd even go so far as to say that McCoy and co. have decided to use even go want to do look more like elevate themselves beyond music completely, instead opting to put a magically paradoxical juxtaposition of emotions into an audible format that people of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate, love and dream
"But what about those pointless and forced interludes? 'Please Remember' and 'Windows' might as well be ripped straight from 'BBF3' and 'Static' by actual post-rock band, Godspeed You! Black Emperor (respectively)." No, you pathetically uninformed idiot. The treated static, tonal reconstruction experiments, and extremely meaningful vocal samples found in these compositions of drone/ambient perfection are better than anything the posers in Godspeed could ever even consider thinking about wanting to one day compose. "Lol….no," you might say. Yes. Yes.
Nothing of any variety crafted by humans will ever objectively touch this album. It's a perfectly microcosm ball of all our wants and desires, or something. If I could rate Sunbather
higher than a 5, I would have done it before the album even came out. Just look at that cover!
Out of Genre: 2
In Genre: 4
For its Time: 4
These Days: 2.5
Influence Level: 4.5