Deafheaven - Sunbather
When it came to what music has been produced, and released within the past year, there is one album that stands out more than the rest. Hailing from San Francisco, Deafheaven’s Sunbather embodies just about every emotion in the musical spectrum with their ability to bridge the gap between doom and beauty. The band’s sop#re album is a dream combination of black metal, post rock, and shoegaze. Though its beauty shines through the feedback of the guitar, it is still as metal as any other record put out in 2013.
These northern California boys are made up of a collective of musicians that have previously been a part of the Grindcore band, Rise of Caligula, and shoegazers from another currently popular indie band Whirr. Deafheaven credits bands like Slowdive, and Sonic Youth, for being main influences in their musical endeavors. The name “Deafheaven” is a nod to Slowdive.
Deafheaven released the record in early June of 2013 on Deathwish Records, the reception was very positive and full of great reviews. Deafheaven’s name was quickly absorbed into the modern underground music scene as a band that had produced one of the greatest records in the modern era of music. This album will not be a commercial success, and you will not see this band performing at the Grammys, but Sunbather is continuing to make a lot of noise on the charts. Winning the title of Rolling Stone’s “Best Metal Album of 2013”, Deafheaven is all over the US and Canadian charts in 2013, taking top spots in many categories.
The album opens up with machinegun drums and ear piercing screams, but then only buildings into an epic flood of sound and rhythm, and when the second track “Irresistible” flows in, you forget that they are a black metal band. People that don’t listen to metal love this record. The sudden and common changes from total chaos to an evident ambient groov can only stun a listener into thinking to themselves “I have never heard a band sound like this before”. The aspect of this album that I find most compelling is the heavy influence of ambient, post-rock, and shoegaze in the overall sound of the band. The instrumentation is brilliant and mends the intense elements of metal into epic post-rock like they have been doing it for decades. I think the record is going to spark a whole new wave of metal bands blending the elements of heavy music and post-rock.
Sunbather is comprised of seven tracks with four of the songs being more than eight minutes long. The duration of these songs are full of builds and breaks that do nothing but support, and expand the songs that have been played before them. The series of interludes help usher in each song with ambient loops, feedback, and weeping guitar tones only to compliment the bursts of speed metal. It is as if these songs were brilliantly composed as one composition, then broken down into seven tracks.
The best thing about this album is the fact that people that would never listen to black metal, or anything involved in the realm of metal music, genuinely do enjoy Sunbather. Music critics at publications such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Spin tend to classify this album as a “masterpiece”. The sound is simply one of a kind. There are a lot of influences that went into the making of this album, but there is not one evident artist or band that you can pin point as their main inspiration. There will probably never be a record like this ever again, but I am perfectly fine with that.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deafheaven, deafheaven.com/