Album Review: Deafheaven’s “New Bermuda”
Vivian Englund – Opinions Editor
Deafheaven is one of those bands that has made a name for themselves through, literally, making no sense. They are technically a black metal band, but that does not stop them from throwing shoegaze and black metal elements together.
If you have been around long enough, you would know that people seem to love and hate Deafheaven in the same measure. People either spend their time defending them at any cost, or write articles on why everything about them sucks, especially their haircuts.
The band’s sophomore album “Sunbather” sounds like the band was finally able to curate whatever sounds they were dreaming of and string it together to create the cocktail their audience has been waiting for.
The album in full melted together at a lengthy 60 minutes. However, that did not deter from stand out tracks like “Sunbather” and “Dream House,” which were quiet roars full of angst and suburban-driven issues.
“New Bermuda” is Deafheaven’s latest and greatest work of art. To say the least, “New Bermuda” is considerably heavier than their last, yet still carries elements that are now their defining characteristics.
The 47 minute endeavor is a symphonic compilation of palatable “louds” and “quiets.” Unlike “Sunbather,” “New Bermuda” seems to have blurred the lines that distinguish the volume levels of each song. There is still quite a range, but it flows better.
A stand out feature that Deafheaven loves to toy with is the collision of beauty and tragedy. Each song feeds into that just as much as it did on “Sunbather,” but a little more subtly.
Tracks about love, sadness and existential crisis bleed through the entirety of the album.
A track on the album sets out to explicitly compliment “Sunbather’s” “Dream House”: “Confined to a house that never remains clean/to a bed where the ill never get well/I cough ceaselessly into the night/the remainder of my humanity is drifting spit through the cold/Sitting quietly in scorching reimagined suburbia.”
“Luna” plays with the louds and quiets, heaviness and lightness. The song is about having found a suburban oasis, a dream house, and having it turn out to be nothing like expected—a nightmare, in fact.
Deafheaven was previously signed to the front man of Converge’s label Deathwish, for “New Bermuda” the band has signed with Epitaph’s sister label, ANTI-. This, by the way, is only feeding the mouths that argue against Deafheaven, considering ANTI- is indie-rock fused.
“Brought to the Water” kicks off the album with a strong start then slowly gets less uniform with more melodic pieces and riffage. At a glance, “Baby Blue” holds a grueling guitar solo. While it is clear that “Gifts for the Earth” takes inspiration from post-punk bands.
The fusion of these elements probably does not make sense on paper, but in action it certainly does not disappoint. As always, Deafheaven somehow took things that assumedly do not mix well together and shook them up to make “New Bermuda.”
Photo Credit: Allan Wan