Deafheaven New Bermuda
“Baby Blue,” the third cut on Deafheaven’s new, third album, spends its first three minutes like tranquil Tortoise jazz-rock and the next five shrieking and guitar-soloing to attention, before closing with a found-sound announcement about closures on the George Washington Bridge. Put another way, it embodies everything that drew the indie masses to a metal band—and divided metalheads over the true metal-ness of that band—when Sunbather dominated musical conversation in 2013.
If you liked that record odds are good you’ll dig this one, and if it perplexed you New Bermuda probably will, too. Deafheaven employs the same basic blueprint—affixing George Clarke’s blood-curdling shrieks (mixed relatively low, so as not to terrify too much) to music of varying force, traditional chugging riffs on one end of the spectrum, epically building soundscapes on the other. If the new LP suffers slightly in comparison to Sunbather, it’s only because it can’t pack the same surprise, not because it lacks an equal sonic wallop.