Deafheaven - Demo
Self Release
Post-rock/Black Metal
4 songs (24:43)
Release year: 2010
Deafheaven
Reviewed by Charles
Earlier this year I reviewed Petrychor’s first EP; a kind of black-metal-but-not. Many of the elements were there. Black metal guitar tone, black metal vocals, black metal blasting, acoustic interludes evoking Ulver’s Kveldssanger, black metal nature-loving artwork. But there was something positive- uplifting, even- about the way the music felt that turned it into a quite different beast. Deafheaven (or DFHVN, if you share the band’s aversion to vowels) is sort of the next step and as such will no doubt prove infuriating to those of a more purist bent. For a start, you can scratch the ‘black metal artwork’ from the list above. It’s safe to say that the letters in that logo are disappointingly readable (if hard to pronounce), and the cover makes heavy use of that least grim of all colours, pink. Still, an injured finger is quite grim in its way.

This release (available for download at a price of your choosing) is remarkably well-crafted for a demo, with each of the four tracks having something distinct to offer. Libertine Dissolves presents a warmer take on the post-rock influenced black metal sound that seems to be all the rage these days, suggesting someone like Celeste but featuring the kind of uplifting emotional rock builds you may associate more with Pelican. Bedrooms is a crystal clear acoustic guitar prelude to Daedalus, which weaves confidently between strongly-worked blasting melodies and strolling indie backbeats. Again, it feels bright and breezy, almost like Nachtmysitum’s Addicts but drained of all its misanthropic USBM gravitas.

But the lengthy and restless Exit:Denied is the band’s real statement here: where they step out of the shadows of the myriad acts who’ve been doing similar things recently. A delicate acoustic introduction is squelched by a weighty, sludgy churn. But this again gives way, this time to an authentically blackened blast, which permeated deeply by sickly melody and with howling, distant vocals, and suddenly it starts to feel like real American black metal to compete with underground luminaries like Ash Borer or Fell Voices. This likeness is rounded off by the splendidly ugly collapse into apocalyptic doom that suddenly makes the record seem so much darker. A great song.

This, then, is for those that have willingly followed black metal’s interweaving with indie and ‘post’ influences. If that applies to you, then you have no doubt been spoilt for choice this year, but I would advise you to find a few dollars to throw DFHVN’s way even so. If the last Twilight album only succeeded in pissing you off, steer well clear.

Killing Songs :
Exit:Denied
Charles quoted no quote
Other albums by Deafheaven that we have reviewed:
Deafheaven - Sunbather reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Deafheaven - Roads to Judah reviewed by Charles and quoted 83 / 100
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