New Bermuda



by zv003478 USER (2 Reviews)
October 1st, 2015 | 4 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: By foregoing slightly cheesy interludes and adopting a more varied approach to song writing, Deafheaven have unleashed 5 gut-wrenching slabs of wistful, meandering melancholia on the polarised masses.

I can't imagine these guys and their brand of epic, uplifting-while-depressing 'blackgaze' (horrible yet undeniably accurate term) need much of an introduction at this stage. As is always the way, their previous offering, the wildly ambitious sophomore LP 'Sunbather' was held in contempt by black metal purists worldwide for it's decidedly uncvlt/'emoP musical leanings, lyrical departure from praising the triumph of the warmongering satanic bloodhordes and having the sheer audacity to choose a heretical PINK album cover. The rest of us were content to simply bask in the light of gorgeous instrumentation and thought provoking songwriting, which did so well that it somehow transcended the somewhat niche appeal of black metal and was devoured whole by the 'mainstream' press and audience. For all those that digged on 'Bather and 'Roads', all that stuff is still here with some added diversity and slightly toned down melodrama. Those who thought it a pompous, overrated musical miscarriage of blackpop will most likely retain that view.

On 'New Bermuda', the duo of Kerry McCoy and George Clarke are joined by three full time members consisting of a second guitarist, a bass player (McCoy previously handled both guitars) and former guest drummer Daniel Tracey is made full-time. This beefed up lineup has given the bass and drums a huge boost in vitality. Where on the previous record, they were often used to form a kind of 'wall of sound' over which soared keening bittersweet guitars and Clarke's anguished shrieks, both instruments possess distinct identities here and are often doing interesting things. The bass provides contrast to the guitar parts instead of just underpinning them, and Daniel Tracey is a formidable skinsman, interspersing passages of fearsome blasting with lively mid-paced, fill-littered beats. The songs do more meandering now rather than building towards crescendos, and each song is filled with one or two really fresh musical ideas. 'Come Back' for example has a beautifully bleak passage of slide guitar which kicks in roughly half way, and the thrash riffs found in sections of the first and second songs give the band a metallic bite the likes of which they've not previously expressed..

George Clarke adopts a slightly more mid-pitch shriek which does a solid job of conveying the hopelessness and dejection of his lyrics. In this regard, the tone is more or less unchanged, if slightly more abstract perhaps.

“A multiverse of fuchsia and violet surrenders to blackness now. My world closes it's eyes to sex and laughter”

There is even less hope to be found here than on previous outings. The mood of desperation that characterised a lot of the band's older material is replaced with an aura of sombre resignation which the band conveys with their bittersweet melodies and tasteful instrumental interplay. Perhaps the one area where I personally feel the album fell slightly short is the somewhat perplexing sample of an automated voice talking about the George Washington Bridge at the end of “Baby Blue”. One can only assume Deafheaven intended some kind of hidden deep meaning behind this, but to me it comes across as kinda pointless and doesn't really add anything to the record's 45 minute run time. Thankfully, it occupies only 1 of those minutes, as opposed to the interludes of Sunbather which at times seemed similarly irrelevant.

A follow up to such a massively lauded album was always going to lead audiences to judge
by comparison, but in my opinion, these songs are a natural evolution of the band's back-catalogue and worth the time of anybody out there who enjoyed their previous chunks of angst.

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October 1st 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

Cool review

October 1st 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! Kinda feel like it took so long for me to get round to this that by the time I did, other people had said pretty much everything there is to say, and this is just beating a dead horse, but YOLO

October 1st 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this album is cool, glad its not Sunbather 2.0, though it falls short of that album for me, not by a huge margin though. I loved the interludes on Sunbather haha.

October 1st 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

In retrospect I was a bit harsh about the interludes, they make that album flow really nicely in fairness. The immediacy this album has without them is a nice change though imo. And agreed, Sunbather 2.0 could've risked spoiling the original.

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