Deafheaven
New Bermuda


4.5
superb

Review

by MilkSteak USER (9 Reviews)
April 13th, 2016 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It isn't Sunbather part two, but maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Following the wide success of their previous release, it was hard to imagine that Deafheaven could live up to the hype. After a solid debut, paired with a masterful sophomore effort, many were skeptical that the band could even come close to regaining that level of success. On New Bermuda, Deafheaven prove they aren't just a thing of the past, and construct an album that even rivals their critically acclaimed precursor. The shoegaze and post-metal influences are still in effect, but the band adds in more black metal to New Bermuda’s atmosphere, building on what made Sunbather so popular and taking the right step forward in their musical journey.

On this release, one thing that is instantly noticeable is how much more prominent George Clarke’s vocals are in the mixing. It's almost easier to understand what he screams on these songs when compared to tracks on their previous releases. His voice is intense, full of passion and charisma that isn't easily matched by anyone else today. As Clarke shrieks his lungs out, the guitars churn out catchy black metal riffs behind him. They're aggressive, yet uplifting at the same time. The drumming is impressive, as well, propelling the songs forward measure by measure. The drums are adaptable, capable of controlling the mood of each song, and shifting from abrasive blast beats to jazzy passages filled with emotion at a moment’s notice.

Even on the heavier moments the emotion is endearing. Clarke’s voice sounds so hurt, and the lyrics are packed with such sorrow and longing that it's practically human nature to cry out for his pain. This is apparent on lines such as “I imagine the gracious, benevolent ritual of death” and “I’ve boarded myself inside, I've refused to exit”. With each time his voice is utilized, he paints vivid, heart-breaking images of the struggles he constantly faces in his life today. On Luna, he portrays his feelings of depression and his inability to cope with the rise in fame he's receiving now. The melodies on this song carry the lyrics forward and match the emotion in Clarke’s voice with their own sentiment. He takes it a step further on Gifts for the Earth, hinting at what death would be like and debating on taking his own life. The band craft a melancholic mood here, and play through the song with a passion no other band can match.

These songs sound tighter and extremely full-fledged, likely due to the fact that Deafheaven now have a full band to work with on an album. The songs in turn thrive at the chance of a complete band. Rather than somewhat relying on brief instrumental tracks to move the album along like on Sunbather, they create lavish landscapes in the interludes of songs. Opener Brought to the Water is pummeling for several minutes, but is soon able to pull things back, allowing the listener to catch their breath before being beaten over the head again. Other times they begin a song on a slower and more touching note. On Baby Blue, the intro persists for a while, lulling the listener into a dreamlike state before Clarke and the group pulverize their brain with belligerent melodies. The band even puts in a rare guitar solo, adding on to the dynamics and diversity they've succeeded with on each album thus far. Each song on New Bermuda seems to reach its' peak on several occasions, then manages to top that moment, constantly pushing the boundaries of black metal and shoegaze.

On Deafheaven's third release they use what they crafted on Sunbather and enhance it, taking the next logical step for their career. The aggressive parts are heavier, the softer moments are more touching. The slower moments on the album could even appeal to people that aren't fans of metal. This album shows what Deafheaven is all about, and proves they’re one of the more unique groups working today. It's charming and inspirational, and adds on to the notion that the band can do wrong at this point.

Recommended Songs

Baby Blue
Luna
Brought to the Water




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3.8
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Comments:Add a Comment 
zaruyache
April 13th 2016


24698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"songs sound tighter and extremely full-fledged"



I think the out-of-tune guitar and awkward transitions make this a bit more clunky than tight, imo. Sunbather and Judah had "tight" sounds where every note seemed purposeful, whereas here there are more than a few noticeable screwups.

Digging: Sadness (USA) - _____

kylemccluskey
April 13th 2016


178 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Each song on New Bermuda tops its’ own peak on several occasions, constantly pushing the boundaries of black metal and shoegaze."



this is an oddly worded sentence, I don't quite get what you're trying to say.

Mewcopa0
April 13th 2016


1880 Comments


its no roads to judah

Nocturnalize
April 13th 2016


2463 Comments


Milksteak for greatest user name ever

Nice review btw

Essence
April 14th 2016


6546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

strangely, i agree with your rating but not really your reasoning



also a bit hyperbolic to claim that george clarke is some sort of second coming of jesus of black metal vocalists

MilkSteak
April 22nd 2016


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Where did I claim that?

Essence
April 22nd 2016


6546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

His voice is intense, full of passion and charisma that isn't easily matched by anyone else today.


i mean i like the guy more than most, but come on now


zaruyache
April 22nd 2016


24698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I dislike him more than most on their last 2 albums ^_^

Essence
April 22nd 2016


6546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oooh aren't you mister coolguy, i bet no one else has disliked clarke ever



:]

MilkSteak
April 22nd 2016


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh yeah gotcha thanks for the feedback.

zaruyache
April 22nd 2016


24698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yeah but most of the people that hate him don't think that his vox on the demo/debut are good either and they're wrong bc those voxes are heartemoji.jpeg



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