Deafheaven – New Bermuda (2015, Anti-)
It was not until last year that I discovered Deafheaven’s sophomore album Sunbather and their mix of my favorite genre in music black metal with a genre I’m not that connoisseur of, shoegaze. It was around October that I immersed myself in songs like ‘’The Pecan Tree’’ and ‘’Dream House’’. I gave them a somewhat high score but not the highest I ever gave to a new album. Why?
Not because I’m a black metal purist. In fact this does not exist because if you are this purist you probably listen to music prior to 1993 or 1994. Yes there are quintessential records from this era and I am one of the believers of this classic era of metal. However, this does not explain why I did not called out like a lot of the hipster crowd that ranked Sunbather in the masterpiece category. It was a strong album, with great depth and it brought black metal textures and sound to a wider audience. But, yes there is always a but, this is an album that was too compartmented with too much intermissions.
With New Bermuda, Deafheaven hit the mark completely with a shorter wisely edited record that stands as a whole without breaks or lack of homogeneity. It is closer to a black metal sound that has been adapted to contemporary factors. The intermissions are subtle insertions in songs that are forming a strong whole.
The song ‘’Gifts for the Earth’’ has a lightness that only the great melodies of The Beatles have achieved. There’s a maturity that the earlier explorations of the first two albums leaded to the great achievement of New Bermuda. With only five songs, the blend of shoegazing gives a unsuspected depth to the melancholy and aggressivity of the raw sound of black metal. Much like Emperor’s masterpiece Anthems to the Welkins at Dusk, Deafheaven have achieve to make beautiful music filled with violence and chaos.
Maybe New Bermuda is a new argument for naysayers and haters to hate more but just like after a fire there’s always life that will be growing back. Deafheaven was able to take the horror and the power of the destruction of the fire and change it into something lively, sad, melancholic, and turned on the future of a genre more than just looking back at the past and repeating it endlessly.