Review Summary: New Bermuda shows that DeafHeaven are much more concerned with what they want to do with their sound than what others want them to do with it, which is completely fine.
I've been hearing the phrase "you do you" a lot at college since I have entered. We can all easily make out what it means (be yourself). At first glance though, it seems simple to do, but there is something that we can all pinpoint that affects that. All it is are what others expect of you. Because the influence of what others expect us to be can be almost as strong if not stronger than who we want to be, we tend to humor ourselves or even transform ourselves to what others want or expect us to be. The same idea can be applied to the music industry. A band ends up creating something that others like a lot. After that, they have a choice; either humor what others want from them or want them to be as musicians or be themselves despite what fans say. In DeafHeavens case, the latter applies to them with that choice very clearly on New Bermuda.
DeafHeaven shot their way to the top of the black metal/post rock totem pole with their sophomore effort Sunbather just by being themselves and committing to an idea that they clearly truly loved. With New Bermuda, DeafHeaven continue down this path. They decide to commit to what they want to commit to instead of conforming and humoring to what the rest of their fan base expected. While this album will still probably sit well with those who enjoyed Sunbather, It will shake the listener up if they were expecting a carbon copy of Sunbather.
First thing to be said about this album is that it has a very dark, negative, and somewhat hopeless vibe to it. While it still has some of that glitz to it that Sunbather had, DeafHeaven decided to go down a more haunting path in general. Another difference between New Bermuda and Sunbather is that New Bermuda has no interlude tracks at all. all the tracks are DeafHeaven showing all their abilities in each and every song. A final difference is that there are much more loose structures to the songs due to the fact that there are no interludes.
DeafHeaven are very well known for experimenting with multiple genres in their sound such as post metal and noise rock. You will notice upon listening to any of DeafHeavens material that black metal is laid deep within the foundation of their sound. They have never put it on top as an influence in any of their songs though until now. they decide this time around to make it much more clear that they have a love for black metal as opposed to just incorporating it into their sound to help make the other influences feel more unique.
While this album may not have all the same emotions put across on Sunbather or as strongly as Sunbather did, it still has a relatively profound effect on you. From the pounding and quite grueling intro of "Brought to the Water" to the straight up depressing droning riffs on "Gifts to the Earth", DeafHeaven still know how to pluck on those heartstrings like a harp at times. They pound you to a pulp then reconstruct you, then pound you back to a pulp. DeafHeaven clearly show that they can toy with you emotionally. They like to show that off on this album and are very eager to do it which can (and has) lead to the problem of being very off putting at times. While each individual moment could have had a much stronger effect on the lister, they don't. They lead to a feeling of disjoint and this occurs throughout the entirety of the album. The only thing that saves them from this problem is that these emotions are so strong that they over power the feeling of disjoint at times. This could have been a very fixable problem however. All they would need to do is to add a bit more breathing room for each explosion of emotion because DeafHeaven make it clear that that's what they want to be.
This album is mainly just a clear example of DeafHeaven doing what they want and clearly love to do. While they may have added some unneeded disjoint to their sound in this album, this album is overall another successful experiment by DeafHeaven. This time they decided to make black metal more predominant in their sound. They have also made it very clear that they are not going to conform as much as other bands do to what their fans want them to sound like, they are just letting their abilities take them where they can be taken. DeafHeaven makes it very clear what "you do you" means which is to be true to yourself no matter what anyone else thinks of you even though others may not be too impressed by it.