Poser black metal! The cry of black metal purists as they scoff at Deafheaven, a band that has quickly grown in popularity, even appealing to, and often playing as the lone metal band at hipster-themed festivals. Some metal elitists may not even consider Deafheaven to be metal, which very much is a reach to argue due to the number of metal elements that form the core of their sound. I, on the other hand, am not a black metal purist, nor do I even consider myself a metalhead, therefore I have no need to confine myself to the perceived rules of a genre. Deafheaven eschews the lyrical themes and tone of black metal, yet incorporate other styles of metal and focus on emotional personal-oriented lyrics to forge their own blend of metal. This continues to be the case for Deafheaven’s third full-length album, New Bermuda.
Opening with a barrage of blast beats, crunchy guitar riffs, and shrill growls, Brought to the Water encapsulates the essence of New Bermuda’s sound. Thick guitar tones chug along with incessant blast beats and double-bass pedals, while upbeat, optimistic guitar melodies in the foreground counteract and contrast with them. Luna follows with a very similar structure, but with more atmospheric elements and less distorted guitars in the second half. In fact, much of New Bermuda shares this in that the first halves of the songs are generally heavier, while the second halves are more subdued or atmospheric.
New Bermuda shares little with its black metal, or even depressive black metal, brethren. Only the extensive use of blast beats, double-bass pedals, and vocal style are reminiscent of those genres, musically. Lyrically this album is more personal and shares nothing with black metal. Tracks such as Come Back or Baby Blue are full of thick chugging guitar, which showcase the excellent crunchy guitar tone on this record. There is plenty of variety in the riffing and the numerous atmospheric interludes both within and between songs that help foster the mood of the album. As a whole, New Bermuda is a heavier release than its predecessor, Sunbather, which was much more atmospheric. This time the metal elements are more prominent and differentiate this release.
Black metal and other metal purists really have nothing to cry about with Deafheaven—they seem more to be incorporating elements of different genres than claiming to be part of any particular genre. New Bermuda is very much a metal album—a very good one at that—from a band that has interestingly been able to cross over with a very non-metal crowd. That is something that perhaps should be applauded because it demonstrates the range of emotions that the band is able to evoke and appeal to.
Genre: Metal, Depressive Black Metal
Label: Anti- Records
Release: October 2, 2015
1. Brought to the Water
3. Baby Blue
4. Come Back
5. Gifts For the Earth