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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Deafheaven - Roads to Judah (2011)

Band: Deafheaven
Country: San Francisco, California
Style: Post-Black Metal
Label: Deathwish Inc.

It wasn't that long ago when I first found Deafheaven, a band that had released their debut demo on the Internet for free. Not long after that, a buzz began to build about this young band that had something different within their sound that made them stick out. Not long after that, the original duo expanded to include a bassist and drummer in order to play live, not long after that, they were signed to Deathwish.
Despite holding only four songs, like their demo did, this album shows a leap forward in terms of both production and songwriting. Further blending the lines between shoegaze, black metal, post-hardcore, and post-rock, this album is a very logical progression from where the band started. The opening Violet, which tops twelve minutes, opens with a sprawling atmospheric post-rock section before bursting into full-on black metal mayhem. The rest of the track maintains a similar black metal sort of aggression, but still manages to keep that shoegaze and post-rock sort of ambiance going along with it at the same time.
But like I said, the songwriting has also improved, songs like Language Games is just blistering, but still very melodic. The other four songs also contain the same more melodic riffing style, where it's not as full-on blast-beats, tremolo picking, screaming in your face sort of black metal, but a more ethereal experience. The slowdowns and speed ups, heavy and softer moments, throughout a given song obviously add a nice dynamic that really works for these guys. I think that with only four songs, all of them being fairly long, the use of different sections, whether it be a more post-rock sort of part, a blazing black metal one, or a really atmospheric hybrid of the two, helps to make this album seems more original, it's not just four guys speeding up, getting tired, and slowing down again.
Overall, this is a really strong album with four really solid songs. On it's own, I don't think that a lot of new ground is being broken by this band, note that I said a lot, but there's just something special about these guys. I don't think it needs to be said again, but if you don't already know about this band, definitely check them out.
Overall Score: 9
Highlights: Violet, Tunnel of Trees

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