Always a band in touch with their tender side, Deafheaven’s fifth album 'Infinite Granite' sees them fully embrace shoegaze, abandoning nearly all pretences of being a metal band. Beyond a few well-structured crescendos, drops screamed vocals and metal guitar tones - this is a band fully immersing themselves in their lighter and more fragile side.
George Clarke’s voice is the most evident change; gone are the deathly howls and cries of previous records, replaced by a sweet and earnest singing voice; more Bo Burnham than Burzum. Guitarist and band leader Kerry McCoy meanwhile has clearly been adding a few more delay pedals to his collection.
The shift in focus is not necessarily a bad thing; there are some real moments of beauty on the record - 'In Blur' aches and sparkles, whilst singles 'Great Mass Of Colour' and 'The Gnashing' showcase a band adept at building beautiful soundscapes even with the guitars turned down - but at a certain point, the album suffers from the lack of depth in Clarke’s vocals, or range in his melodies.
There’s no doubting Deafheaven are a band exploring their own sonic capabilities, and they should be applauded for treading their own path, but it’s the heaviest parts of the record that feel like the band are really hitting their stride - the glorious final two minutes of album closer 'Mombasa' a fine example - which make you kind of wish that they’d just do a whole album in that mode.
Words: David Weaver
Dig This? Dig Deeper! Alcest, NOTHING, Catherine Wheel
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