REVIEW: DEAFHEAVEN – “New Bermuda”
Knowing Deafheaven and their musical past, it became kind of hard to predict what the new album ‘New Bermuda’ would sound like. I was in for a really nice surprise, though. Deafheaven is back with a new musical direction; their new sound is refreshing, deciding to bend more towards metal. It is safe to say that the new album sounds relatively black metal-ish, but not quite so. There are multitudes of variations and textures at play here.
Going right in, the album features a short track list, with each song being substantially long. The new black-metal sound of Deafheaven opens up the album with the song “Brought To The Water”. This song really presents the band in some interesting hues and shades, and progresses to end on a nice, softer note. The next song “Luna” too follows a similar direction with the same traits of extreme and soft parts. Normally at this part, it could be easy to anticipate the form of songs for the remainder, but nice things don’t really work that way. The song “Baby Blue” takes its first steps in a very soft manner and heads towards becoming pacey. In any case, if you did think that you could predict the direction the album takes, you’d be quite wrong.
Towards the end of ‘New Bermuda’, we come upon the song “Come Back”, which is funny because of its mellow rock-sounding nature. Even if you crave the sounds that the album presents in the beginning, you would still love the sound of this song before it fades out. The album ends with “Gifts For The Earth”, which again sounds akin to “Come Back” with a little harder punch. The orchestration of soft and extreme parts has been nicely blended and presented across the album, leaving a sense of satisfaction.
George Clarke on vocals, Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra on guitars, Stephen Clark and Daniel Tracy on drums make up the Deafheaven line-up.
‘New Bermuda’ is like exotic food in some sense; you either love it or hate it. Deafheaven has combined elements of shoegazing and an orientation towards black metal from their musical past. There is a lot more clarity in their musical direction in this album compared to ‘Sunbather’ or ‘Roads to Judah’. Even from a perspective of black metal, Deafheaven has done an excellent job in trying to create the atmosphere that black metal is known for instead of simply sticking to “kvlt” instrumentation and production.
For any black metal ‘elitist’, Deafheaven isn’t “trve kvlt black metal”; far from it. But they have captured the essence of black metal and put in rich production. The vocals continue to remain a signature trait of Deafheaven. The band is certainly a pot of skill considering the vast variety of sounds and textures they have created in their compositions. The sad part about many black metal bands or even those who want to incorporate such elements, is that they fall short of capturing emotions of the listener in a trace-like dream while showcasing its own softer sides upon the aggression it rides on. This is a strong trait of mature and older black metal bands across the world. It is a pleasure to say that Deafheaven have managed to own this trait and carry it well.