on August 5, 2013
Learning how to drink martinis takes time. It is possible that the first sip will be spit out as it overwhelms your senses. It is harsh. It is intense. It burns. Gradually, you learn (with eyes closed), to choke down a gulp or two. It is strong. It makes you strong. The taste and immediate effects become warm and familiar. Eventually, you begin to savor every drop...and crave the next one.
I love martinis. Buy this album.
on June 12, 2013
"Black metal for people who don't like black metal." The album thrashes around like mad, but throughout maintains a cinematic scope and strange sense of melody that helps push it into the stratosphere as far as I'm concerned. Get it.
on June 14, 2013
Deafheaven's Sunbather is one of those anomalies that happens every so often in metal music where you're moved to your core listening to the aural violence. Singer George Clark sounds like Deftones' Chino Moreno having some sort of attack as songwriter/guitarist Kerry McCoy creates transcendent -albeit bludgeoning- music that sweeps you up in the drama of life and existence. Sunbather sounds like what would happen if Explosions In The Sky dabbled in black metal. It's a record that comes around every so often, and when it does all you can do is let it wash over you.
"Dream House" is a wall of guitars. And ebb and flow of dramatic sweeps and moods. This is what happens when post rock goes through primal scream therapy. I imagine Mogwai was brought up once or twice in the studio while recording this epic opening track. A barrage of guitars bash against each other as if waves pummeling the lone schooner in a black ocean. Clark screams orders till the storm calms as the piano and echoed guitar of "Irresistible" steps in during a moment of solace, quietly taking us into the ten minute title track. Deftones haunt the sound of this song, not only in the shredded vocal cords but McCoy's exquisite guitar. His guitar is a sound filled with both guttural pain and heavenly scope. You feel as you listen to Deafheaven that you're listening to a great epic tale -much like Homer's Odyssey- put to music. This is a journey record(and not that "Don't Stop Believin' junk). "Please Remember" starts as noise and increases in intensity climaxing to a buzzsaw screech before dissipating into a quietly strummed guitar. Ebb and flow.
This album isn't for the weak of heart or ear. It's a trip filled with good and bad. It's a journey filled with as much pain as pleasure. What makes this record a journey worth taking over and over again is songwriter/guitarist Kerry McCoy. He takes metal and hardcore music and gives it something that too often is missing in both: depth. At times there's a downright shimmering quality to his playing that sounds like Johnny Marr filling in for Porl Thompson on Disintegration. "Vertigo" has a shoegaze swirl about it before going into an almost Euro-metal guitar lead that opens the gates for George Clark's banshee howl. "Window" is a swirl of dread. A voice speaks in the background as piano plays and ambient noise comes in and out of focus before "The Pecan Tree" closes the dizzying journey called Sunbather.
Bands like Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, and even My Bloody Valentine are woven into Deafheaven's DNA. I'm sure there's some black metal and hardcore bands that were a basis for these guys wanting to make music as well, but I haven't the ear or listening experience to throw those names around. All I can say is Sunbather is Deafheaven taking all of those influences and creating something unique and moving all their own. It's not an easy journey, but one you should take. One you must take.
on June 11, 2013
Black metal that has the melody and structure of a Godspeed album. Excellent. Deafheaven will get flak for playing a more 'artsy' version of a mostly hardcore genre, but who cares? Its the music that matters, and Sunbather never feels compromising: it feels revolutionary.
on April 27, 2014
Sunbather, the sophomore release from San Francisco-based band Deafheaven has been categorized in a variety of ways. By design Deafheaven may appear as traditional Black Metal band, with screeching guitars, blast beats and unintelligible screamed vocals. But beyond that Deafheaven borrow from genre's typical un-associated with Black Metal: Post-Rock, Shoegaze, Screamo, Emo, Noise and ambient music to create a genre all their own. Metalheads have argued over how "metal" Deafheaven really is, and there's good reason for that. Each song on Sunbather is in a major key, which sets them apart from the bulk of Black Metal bands.
Clocking in at just barely under an hour with just seven tracks, Sunbather alternates between lengthy, hazy, abrasive tracks and quieter, sweeter, instrumental ones (save for a short spoken word and some sampled voices.) Monster opener "Dream House" immediately grabs your attention with a blaring guitar intro before drummer Daniel Tracy launches into feroceus blast beats. Three quarters through the nine minute track, the drums drop out letting two guitars slowly reverberate through a 50-second interlude before launching into the last 3 and a half minutes, this time in half-time. Singer George Clarke lays down a beautiful piece of poetry here, which supposedly came from a drunk text conversation from a woman he was madly in love with: "I'm Dying" / "It is blissful?" / "It's like a dream" / "I want to dream." As soon as Clark repeats the passage twice, Kerry McCoy lays down a ringing melody, driving the song into complete euphoria that rivals any modern Post-Rock band today. It'll completely take you a back, that such a heavy band can spark such beautiful, blissful moments. "Dream House" flows seamlessly into "Irresistible" a short piece of pure instrumental post-rock, think Mogwai or Saxon Shore here, just intertwining guitars and simple piano chords. It's the softest Deafheaven go, but even by Post-Rock standards this one is extra sweet. The title track follows in suit of "Dream House" but surpasses it in speed, ferocity and length. McCoy once again takes advantage of Post-Rock crescendos here, as the song takes a number of well deserved breaks through out its 10 mintues. "Please Remember," another instrumental piece includes some spoken work by Alcest frontman before shifting into a noise section before ending on an acoustic passage lasting 2 and a half minutes. "Vertigo," the album's longest track at 14 and a half minutes, begins as a sinister post rock track, before morphing into the heaviest and most noticeably Black Metal track with a massive solo part way through.
Many people have compared this to My Bloody Valentine's 1991 classic Loveless, even down to the similar cover art. This is the Loveless of the 21st century, an era where the point of discussion is less about how much an artist fits into a genre and more about what the artist actually does for the listener. Deafheaven have created a modern classic here, redefining what it means to be a "metal" band today.
on July 22, 2013
First of all I must give you a little back story. When Deafheaven came out with Roads to Judah I found a rare vinyl copy, and purchased it having never heard the band before. That LP has gotten one rotation on my turntable,and never since. I was not impressed by that record at all. It was just more of the same old hipster USBM. When Sunbather was announced, the press was all over it. Everywhere you looked in magazines, the internet, record stores, people were talking about this record coming out, and I could not have cared less. Well, it's been out for a little while now, and due to the constant barrage of positive reviews, I decided to give it a shot. Based on my opinion of Roads to Judah, I thought this would be a total waste of money. That was where I was dead wrong. This album immediately captivates you with a swirling guitar and drum sound that says this ride will be different. As I listened to Sunbather for the first time I couldn't help but to think what a great name for an album this is. If Black Metal usually reminds you of icy forests, corpse paint, and nails pushed through leather armbands, these songs will send you a new direction. This is like "summer metal", or "beach metal" to me. Not in a campy sense, but in the sense that it makes me visualize waves crashing, bright sun shining, and sitting in the sand alone while reflecting on your past, and enjoying the solitude. The songs are very melodic, but more like a soundtrack than an actual song. It is easy to get absorbed in this music, and it is really quite captivating. Before I bought this, I listened to some samples of it and was not impressed. Now I know that you really need to sit down and listen to this from start to finish. The hour goes by in fifteen minutes. There are so many things I could say about this, but I would just keep repeating myself by trying to get my point across. Bottom line is that Sunbather is getting great reviews because it is a truly great album, and a must-own. Do yourself a favor and just buy this. If you are hesitant, just buy this. If you are afraid of wasting your money, just buy this. Some people have said that this band is too hipster-y. Well, yes, it is hipster music. If that keeps you from experiencing this record it is a shame. (and a very hipster mentality). Since listening to Sunbather it really makes me wonder if Roads to Judah is another masterpiece just sitting in my record pile and I don't even know it? I'm going to find out...
on February 9, 2014
What was the last social mistake you made?
I don't really go out or talk to anyone, but when I do I count the number of times I actually do interact with someone and I rate rather if that interaction went badly or not.
I went out today and interacted with 6 people.
5 out of 6 interactions were bad.
1 out of 6 interactions were neutral.
Interaction #1 :
-Buying something at store. Girl at register asks if I want a bag. I tell her yes, but she didn't understand me. Then I said 'yes' too loudly.
-Using crosswalk. Light signals for me to walk. Walk into crosswalk but intermediately stop because cars are blocking path. Apparently there's traffic due to some bus departing, causing some cars to be stuck outside of lane. Walk inbetween the cars that are blocking my path. I signal to a driver that I will be walking in front of his car, he looks at me in anger.
-Guy asks me what time it is, I look at my watch to find out that my watch is dead. I look at my cellphone and still end up telling that person the wrong time.
-Went to go buy watch batteries and have someone install them for me. I couldn't understand anything he was saying, there was a lot of awkward silences. I was supposed to say something, but I didn't know what he saying .
-Walking in crowded area. Girl who I don't know says 'hi" to me and opens her arms for a hug. I end up hugging her when she was trying to hug the person behind me.
on August 11, 2015
This is a superb album that deserves a much better vinyl presentation, The packaging and the graphics are cutting edge. The only thing forgotten was to make the vinyl sound worthwhile. Exceptionally noisy surfaces that can't be "cleaned" away, and a somewhat poor mastering job that sucks the life out of the music. This album and group deserve better. Stick with the CD
on February 14, 2014
Overall, I'm not much of a metal/hard rock fan, but this album is fantastic! This is very much like a hybrid between the ebb and flow of post-rock instrumental albums and the "wall of sound" texture of black metal. The vocals will be an adjustment for people who aren't used to unintelligible growl/scream style. I've gotten used to it and quit thinking of the vocals as a way to convey words in favor of listening to the vocals as another instrument/effect in the mix. When you're listening, be sure to pull out the lyric sheet, because they shed light on the emotions behind the songs and enrich the overall experience.
Vinyl version notes: there aren't any pictures, but the vinyl packaging is nicely done. The 2 LP album comes in a slip cover with a pull out poster insert with lyric sheet included. The first LP is pink opaque vinyl with the second in transparent chanteuse. It is definitely one of the coolest records in my collection. People dig the pink metal album!
on May 25, 2014
Never would have thought I could enjoy the genre. Metacritic had Sunbather rated so high so I bought the album on Amazon and thought I would give it a shot. Not something I initially was crazy about, with my previous favorite metal or hard rock acts being the likes of Faith No More, Danzig, Coheed (yeah I am almost forty). Now, I am getting ready to drive two hours to Minneapolis to see DH while the fam sits in the hotel after shopping at MOA. And I know it will be the best concert I have seen. And I have seen a lot. But Sunbather has melodies buried under the metal, the music is almost like jazz in a way in that the notes u don't hear are sometimes the biggest. Clarke's vocals are more emotive than enunciated and that's the genre. Drumming is nonpareil. And I don't normally notice drummers. Roads to Judah is almost as good, but Sunbather is exquisite.