George Clarke - vocals Kerry McCoy - guitar Daniel Tracy - drums Shiv Mehra - guitar Chris Johnson - bass
Deafheaven was formed in 2010 by vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy. They released their debut studio album Roads to Judah in 2011 and followed it with scrappy, rabid live shows. In 2013, Deafheaven released Sunbather to critical acclaim. Produced by Jack Shirley and bringing drummer Daniel Tracy on board, their breakthrough sophomore album embodied the transitory magic of sunspots drifting across a hardwood floor and created a live set that felt like a religious experience.
A year later, in 2014, the band released From the Kettle onto the Coil, the precursor to their forthcoming third album, 2015’s New Bermuda. Produced again by Jack Shirley, the album furthered Deafheaven’s deconstructing of metal, offering a bleaker but no-less-triumphant tapestry. New Bermuda was heavier, sturdier, and more grounded in the dirt than Sunbather and mixes beauty and depression, shining lights and suicide.
Deafheaven’s fourth album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is another revelation for the band. Borrowing its title from Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair, it references a moment when someone is looking for love, in all its imperfection and simple beauty. This sentiment is carried throughout the hazy, yearning romanticism of the record with song titles and words as sumptuous as the sounds around them. It’s a feeling of a loved one growing distant, medicating yourself with empty sex with strangers, and tears in a place far away from home. Deafheaven released a b-side from their fourth album called "Black Brick" on February 27, 2019.
- Anti Records artist bio
New Bermuda (2015)
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (2018)
Genre: Black Metal, Blackgaze, Post-metal Similar artists: Alcest, Ghost Bath, Oathbreaker Similar Bonnaroo artists: Gojira
Like many here, I first discovered Deafheaven when they appeared on Bonnaroo's 2014 lineup. Up to that point, I had pretty much written off black metal as indiscernible shrieking over blast beats. I mean, how much depth can a genre have if every song sounds like demons caught in a meat grinder? Turns out, I was a dumb stupid idiot. With Sunbather, it seemed like Deafheaven asked, "What if we made the world's 'brightest' black metal record?" Sure there's still blast beats, sure there's still indiscernible shrieking, but the song structures and chord progressions craft 10+ minute epics that make you feel like you've conquered the world. The highs are soaring and bombastic, while the introspective interludes are gorgeous and serene and make you think "golly, this existence sure is beautiful, lemme tell ya!" New Bermuda and OCHL both have some metallier riffs and chords and George's vocals sound a little sharper (still indiscernible), but they still retain that feeling of triumph throughout their songs. Deafheaven might seem like a challenging listen, but the payoff is definitely worth it!
Physical Reaction/Live Show
So I just caught Deafheaven last month on their coheadlining tour with Baroness and it was DOPE. It was loud and intense and the sound just keeps hitting you like a wave. George is a great frontman, and I can't remember if I was more baffled by how crazy his sorcerer goblin vocals sounded live or how normal his regular speaking voice was between songs. There's lots of jumping and leaning over the crowd with his mic stand and helicopter hair. And he maintained the same level of energy even during the slow parts which was glorious to behold. He even graced us a couple times with some BLACK METAL TAMBOURINE. The other guys did a good job rocking out and exploring the stage. I particularly liked their singing during "Canary Yellow." Overall, a transcendental experience!
I'm a little bummed that they are playing the same time as Phish's first set, but there is no way I'm missing this show. Hoping for a good crowd to show the organizers that this kind of diversity is what draws people to Roo in the first place and to hopefully encourage similar bookings in the future!