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Album Review: Deafheaven - New Bermuda

25 September 2015 | 4:59 pm | Christopher H James

"It's Deafheaven's thoughtful, balanced approach that demands kudos."

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Will black metal ever be this melodic again? Is this incarnation of black metal so diluted it's no longer black metal?

Purists who cocked a snoot at the shoegaze elements of Sunbather are likely to have convulsions over the softer elements of New Bermuda, a title inspired by the notion of boldly searching for new territory. It's not just the lilting piano lines and occasional acoustic instruments that have occasionally been used as contrast by other extreme metal acts; it's Deafheaven's thoughtful, balanced approach that demands kudos. Screaming is not an end in itself, and while no one can question the vehement rage that rips through the first six minutes of Luna, the subsequent contemplative guitar solo which melts into a simple, near silence hook is a natural and inspired progression.

But it's the second half of the album where the most risks are taken, as the eviscerating howl of Baby Blue goes from a scream to a sigh with a languid prog-like jam. This is followed by the opening to Come Back which could easily be mistaken for an outtake from The Cure's Disintegration. Most dumbfounding of all is the closing stages of the final Gifts For The Earth which have been confirmed in interviews by the band to be a tribute to Oasis' Champagne Supernova; a tragedy for purists, a masterstroke to everyone else. Relish New Bermuda while you can because a band this adventurous won't stay here long.