Are you familiar with the story of the Ugly Duckling? If not, now you are and now I can remorselessly spoil it all and say that the moral of the Ugly Duckling story is basically “Don’t be mean to the Ugly Duckling, because it will be a beautiful swan someday” and you’ll want to date this swan when it’s pretty one day, I guess. Deafheaven, for me at least, was a little bit like the ugly duckling. On one hand, their music is dark, harsh, and can be challenging. However, it’s also austerely beautiful, overwhelming, and was a total revelation for me and many others, as their sophomore release Sunbather went on to be the highest rated album on Metacritic after it’s release in 2013. Since then, they’ve been one of the most talked about bands in the metal scene and no matter your opinion on their shoegazey, sweeping black metal, their most recent release New Bermuda is one of the biggest releases of 2015. Fortunately for you, KPSU readers and listeners, Deafheaven is playing at The Wonder Ballroom on October 19th and now is your chance to witness one their one-of-a-kind musical experience for yourself.
While their hotly anticipated album “New Bermuda” isn’t as revelatory as Sunbather, it shows the San Francisco-based black metal band expanding upon their formula by fine-tuning the expansive shoegaze and post-rock elements while keeping within the scope of oppressive black metal and creating something that now could simply be called “The Deafheaven Sound”. For fans of Sunbather, New Bermuda picks up right where it’s predecessor left off, while also evolving and experimenting with moments of post-punk and familiar hardcore. All the while, Deafheaven keeps themselves firmly in the realm of black metal, creating huge, sweeping soundscapes spanning multiple genres and moods. “Luna” is a prime example of Deafheaven’s abilities, as the quintet wastes no time delving into the dark waters and textures of black metal before engaging in their Godspeed You! Black Emperor/MBV-esque post-rock-shoegaze concoction.