Deafheaven
New Bermuda


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben Kuettel STAFF
September 25th, 2015 | 780 replies


Release Date: 10/02/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Darker shades

No one expected Deafheaven to receive the abundance of acclaim following the release of Sunbather in 2013. Their swirling blend of black metal/shoegazing/what-have-you madness became one of the most powerful musical voices in recent years. For all of the wide assortment of musical styles present within Sunbather, there remained a focused vision and accompanying soundtrack to a need for the unattainable. New Bermuda is a different beast altogether, taking their trademarked hybrid of genres to a new level of musical cacophony. Interlude tracks are done away with, each of the five epics its own maze of musical styles and instrumental varieties. The increased sonic variety by Deafheaven is in order to pay tribute to their wide span of influences. These include Slayer, Sixpence None The Richer, Oasis, and others who appear throughout New Bermuda. This ultimately makes for a mess, albeit an enjoyable mess, of styles running rampant throughout.

Criticisms of Deafheaven’s lack of traditional metal aesthetics in their first two records seem to have gotten through to the band. Aggressive guitar riffing opens the first two tracks of New Bermuda, bearing a resemblance to Slayer and Metallica. Despite throwback moments such as these, Deafheaven have shaken up their blasting intro/clean guitar interlude/roaring, emotive crescendo formula enough to keep things fresh for record number three. “Baby Blue” is an exercise in complete disarray, with some experimentations working better than others. A beautiful dance of calming guitar melodies begin over one of the best drumming performances of the album. About halfway through, a completely out-of-place wah-wah guitar solo interrupts the mood established by the contemplative post-rock intro, but remains one of the band's most interesting moments. More of those Slayer guitar riffs are then haphazardly thrown in, alternating with Sunbather-esque qualities, eventually building intensity until closing with fuzzy ambience over a phone operator voiceover(?), recalling the lamest of the Sunbather interludes. This ends up being their most schizophrenic and divisive song, but for the most part works in its charming spontaneity.

Lyrical content affirms what Deafheaven have repeated time and time again in pre-release interviews: mainstream success has largely not been a positive experience, especially for vocalist George Clarke. Contrasting with the idealistic imagery of Sunbather’s rags-to-riches fantasies, Clarke now shrieks of self-reflective apathy and melancholic surrealism. “Where has my passion gone? Has it been carried off by some lonely driver in a line of florescent light? Has it been blurred together in ribboned patterns on the night? Along the stretch of some unnamed plane, we began again,” shrieks Clarke in “Brought to the Water,” while wallowing in existential torment within “Baby Blue.” “God had sent my calamity into a deep space, from which not even in dreams could I ever imagine my escape.” Deafheaven certainly never expected their sophomore release Sunbather to be deemed the “greatest metal album of 2013” by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine, and have ultimately thrown caution to the wind and fueled New Bermuda with their most uncompromising and instinctual reaction to naysayers, and praisers, alike.

New Bermuda is indeed a massive and ever-evolving organism, managing to be even more exhausting than Sunbather while only encompassing three quarters the length. What New Bermuda lacks in consistency however, it makes up for in variety. A genre-bending fan’s dream come true, it is uncommon for any song to run longer than two minutes without drastically shifting musical styles. These experiments ultimately make for a disappointing lack of cohesion, doing away with the precocious complexities of Sunbather in favor of a shrewd nod to a musical influence with any chance the band could find. While this might give New Bermuda an ostentatious feel for some, these Easter eggs are fun moments to discover (kudos to whomever can name the melody from the 90's pop hit contained within the closing few minutes of "Gifts for the Earth"). All of these qualities add up to a veritable blur of storming rage juxtaposed with heavenly soliloquies at a moment's notice. These engaging, effective qualities make for one all-consuming experience that is as stunningly gratifying as it is unexpectedly affirming.



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user ratings (1010)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2015


15306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks to JohnnyOnTheSpot for proofreading.



Stream here: http://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/441531170/first-listen-deafheaven-new-bermuda



Edit: The ending of "Gifts of the Earth" could be multiple 90's songs actually, the ones people mention the most are the bands I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Digging: Slowdive - Slowdive

brainmelter
September 25th 2015


3730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rating is correct, good review bby

liked sunbather more, tho would put this in front of Judah. Luna is my favorite track on here

Digging: Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing in the Hands

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2015


15306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sunbather is indeed better, and yeah Luna is one of their best constructed songs. The first few minutes floor me every time.

jtswope
September 25th 2015


5144 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excited to jam this.

Taxt
September 25th 2015


938 Comments


Good review. I'm glad to see Dan get some props, dude is fucking shredding on this album, even if he recycles a couple of parts a little too regularly for my taste.

BrushedRed
September 25th 2015


2185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is album of the year. It may not be as good as Sunbather but "Luna" is also the best song they've ever done. But I'm also attached to Sunbather.

Digging: Arca - Arca

Veldin
September 25th 2015


2905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What's the 90s pop hit? I can't figure it out. Baby Blue is my favorite

LordePots
September 25th 2015


36863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

well im gonna listen to this



but my expectations are neutral

Digging: Evan Geesman - Coils

LordePots
September 25th 2015


36863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i quite like that album art tho

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2015


8210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

on par with their last 2 imo

Digging: Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

LordePots
September 25th 2015


36863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I like Roads better than Sunbather

brainmelter
September 25th 2015


3730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeahs the second track is fire

wish the guitars didnt sound so flat

Marinatchae
September 25th 2015


112 Comments


"I like Roads better than Sunbather"

Aha! Roads isn't even half a fraction of an inch as better than Sunbather was. Invalid opinion.

deathschool
September 25th 2015


21514 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Roads is their best though.

LordePots
September 25th 2015


36863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0





Aha! Roads isn't even half a fraction of an inch as better than Sunbather was. Invalid opinion.





^^ says the dude who can barely form a single grammatically correct sentence.

LordePots
September 25th 2015


36863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0



Roads is their best though.





they are close but Sunbather is a little bit more twinkly bullshit kinda leaning more into the 'post' side of things so i found it a bit more lame af than Roads

deathschool
September 25th 2015


21514 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Roads is also better than this, cause this is pretty lame.

Marinatchae
September 25th 2015


112 Comments


Read my review if you doubt my writing skills. I can obviously form big grammatically correct sentences.

squaaab
September 25th 2015


553 Comments


men?

Marinatchae
September 25th 2015


112 Comments


Oh fuck off. I obviously don't mean to say he's an actual homosexual.



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