After Sunbather, Deafheaven no longer sounded like a black metal band, leaving them with the liberty to do what the hell they wanted. But, on New bermuda, it seems like what they want to be, is even more metal. Despite their latest London show being filled with people who would not be caught dead at a metal show, the crowd seemed to love the first new song, Brought to the water, even if it’s main riffs sounded like a thrashier Wolves in the Throne Room. Could Deafheaven have been a wolves in sheep clothing for the indie crowd? It seems to be as the band was posing proudly, a few week before the release of New bermuda, with Abbath (Immortal), giving a nice middle fingers to anyone who doubted their metal credential.
Hated by the metal crowd but metal as hell. Loved by the indie crowd and capable of breaking out some very catchy poppy material that could make it’s way on top of the charts easily. New bermuda is definitely an album of extremes. Whereas Sunbather offered some sort of resolution by creating songs that mixed the atmospheric heaviness of black metal with the softness of post rock, New bermuda makes the metal more metal and the pop poppier.
The contrast is constant but finds a resolution in the inherent beauty of each elements. Rather than going for the shinier sound of Sunbather, New bermuda is a contemplation of the hour before sunrises. A slow build up to brightness still drenched in obscurity. This paradox is very well portrayed by the slow build up towards the end of Luna where even the screeches of band frontman George Clarke sound like a celebration rather than an banishment.
Although not as innovative as Sunbather, Deafheaven has created here an excellent follow up to show how much their song writing as improved and that they won’t conform. to any standard of any scene. This refusal to be anything but themselves should make them metal but it seems that this is not enough. Nevermind, if people can’t hear the metal in a song called Baby blue, it’s their loss as Deafheaven has written another consistent album full of excellent songs.