Deafheaven
New Bermuda


3.5
great

Review

by Brandon Scott EMERITUS
September 25th, 2015 | 112 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a few shades paler

When "Brought to the Water", the first track from Deafheaven's third record New Bermuda was released in August, it didn't matter if you were a fan or not, it had the whole of the black metal community in violent curiosity about what was next for the band. The song itself was quite good; as a slightly more abrasive take on Sunbather's ethereal elements, it romanticized Deafheaven's relationship with 90's alternative rock and strengthened their black metal aesthetic in one fell swoop. It was a statement to their basement dwelling dissenters that they too, were a part of the black metal scene.

However, therein lies the overall problem with New Bermuda; not every track is the resounding success that "Brought to the Water" was. It simply doesn't sound like the album Deafheaven wanted to make, but rather an album that attempts to cater to the wants of everyone else. Sunbather was the product of a band dedicated to their own singular vision and was an instant classic because of that. It was balanced, confident, and passionate. New Bermuda on the other hand is at times unsure of itself, frantically searching for an identity throughout the entirety of its five tracks. Its an album built on one jagged transition after the next, "Baby Blue" easily being the worst offender. Its jubilant opening is soon overpowered by vapid power-chord simplicity and continues to get worse from that point, meandering about without purpose or direction. It ends on a sour note, introducing a falsely tantalizing build-up that ultimately leads to nowhere, fading into unfulfilled nothingness instead of capitalizing on what could have been a climactic ending. Likewise, "Come Back" searches for inspiration in all the wrong places. Though the single-note black metal barbarism worked fantastically on "Brought to the Water", by the time you hear it for the fourth time on "Come Back" it's lost all of its luster. Even when the track attempts to soar and bring back the blackened glide guitar of Sunbather, it fails to reach the same stratospheric heights, turbulently plummeting towards the earth instead.

Nevertheless, despite its shortcomings there are still some truly exciting moments to be found on New Bermuda. The aforementioned "Brought to the Water" remains to be a standout and its follow-up "Luna" may be the best track on the album. Though still wildly incoherent, every section is individually excellent. It's in this track, we see a glimpse of what Deafheaven does best; pink hued guitars return in breathtaking form as George Clarke shreds his throat with a newfound sense of vitriol. Like Roads to Judah and their demo, his vocals have returned to the realm of black metal. Ending on a high-note, closing track "Gifts For The Earth" recaptures past glories, recreating both the bouncy post-black metal of previous tracks like "Daedalus" and the gut-wrenching melodies of "Sunbather" effortlessly. It's a bittersweet reminder of how great this album could have been if all the songs were of this quality,

New Bermuda is bound to be endlessly compared to its predecessor, and for good reason; Sunbather wasn't just an excellent album, it represented the peak of Deafheaven's abilities and to a greater extent, the post-black metal genre itself. And in the end, this just doesn't quite match up. It's the most disappointingly satisfying listen of the year. When you listen to tracks as magnificent as "Luna", it's frustrating to think how much better this album could of been if the band had followed the beat of their own drum and not let the naysayers dictate tempo instead. However, though it's a few shades paler than Sunbather it is still certainly a worthwhile album; there are moments scattered throughout it that will still make your heart race and send shivers down your spine. New Bermuda may not be what exactly everyone hoped for, but it's still that stray beam of sunlight cutting though the overcast sky, warming everything in its reach.



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user ratings (1631)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm still debating whether i think it's a 3 or 3.5. The good tracks are great, but my god, "Baby Blue" and "Come Back" are fucking terrible. The second paragraph seems scathing, but I felt I could articulate my frustrations better than what I actually liked about the album. Anyway, feedback would be appreciated.

StarlessCore
September 25th 2015


7750 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

baby blue and come back r pretty bad yea

climactic
September 25th 2015


22742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ive listened to most of this now and i just......i dont know

TheSpirit
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That's pretty much where I am ate. The two tracks I don't like, I hate with such a fiery passion, but the tracks I do like I love. I'm thinking I'll end up lowering this to a three though.

emester
September 25th 2015


8271 Comments


If they replaced "Baby Blue" with "From Kettle", I probably would have dug this quite a bit more

Also about the record itself, I really did fine the middle of this absolutely aggravating to sit through as well. Makes it even more disappointing when the other tracks that sandwich those two range from enjoyable to really impressive.

Really hoping they don't play much from this at the Union Transfer gig.

Pos'd btw

Essence
September 25th 2015


6689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review spirit, i think you pretty much nailed the reaction most people have had to this album. i am really excited by how incredibly divisive this album has been



i am really really enjoying the album so obvs i disagree with comments about tracks 3 and 5, but i can definitely hear where you (and a lot of people) are having that reaction to them

Wolfhorde
September 25th 2015


15387 Comments


Somebody remind me, what's the release date of this again?

Essence
September 25th 2015


6689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

october second, like it says up there...

JWT155
September 25th 2015


14939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Next Friday I believe.

Wolfhorde
September 25th 2015


15387 Comments


Hey..


I'm drinking and I don't have any glasses, don't expect me to read small print.

TheSpirit
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thank guys :]



And it's October 2nd

JWT155
September 25th 2015


14939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll be joining you in the drinking in just a few hours

Kronzo
September 25th 2015


1303 Comments


You spelled exactly wrong in the last paragraph. Otherwise, great review. I've only listened to Sunbather and I'll probably check this despite a lot of users being disappointed

TheSpirit
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Whoops! Thanks for the catch. It is disappointing, but in a weird way. I still definite recommend it.

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


20954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

People are negging both our reviews at the exact same time lol



Great write-up, pos'd. This is probably their weakest but still a very entertaining listen.

TheSpirit
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha it's not surprising, bound to happen with a release like this.



Thanks man! I enjoyed your review as well. I'm torn between this or Roads for their weakest. The best songs here kill Roads, but Roads was overall more consistent.

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
September 25th 2015


20954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Agreed, and in my opinion Violet and Tunnel of Trees are about as good as this album's best couple songs. I feel like Sunbather will always be their crowning achievement.

17WordHaiku
September 25th 2015


263 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't get the feeling that they wrote this for anyone else. I just think they took a risk and it didn't pay off creatively. I actually love the first three tracks, but baby blue and gifts took me so far out of it I could hardly stand to finish the album. Still, a good album. I agree with the rating.

Gyromania
September 25th 2015


36908 Comments


this has a few great songs. idk, i think luna is one of their best but overall i much prefer sunbather

ti0n
September 25th 2015


1769 Comments


i get your complaints about this album. best review so far



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