Album Review: Deafheaven/Bosse-de-Nage - 'Split (EP)'

9 November 2012 | 12:12 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

From left field but incredibly engaging

Minimalist black metal…Ok, we can go along with that, right?! Does the term simply denote black metal sans the over-indulgent and excessive corpse paint? While, a tongue-in-cheek observation may suggest so, the realities are little more profound.

San Francisco upstarts Deafheaven are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise and often stale genre. They are innovative, bold, dynamic, and simply offer a unique approach. ‘Roads of Judah’ was attention grabbing and now the interest is sustained.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Enter the new EP split with fellow Bay Area brooding heavy-hitters Bosse-de-Nage. While, both bands only contribute isolated tracks, at nine and ten minutes respectively, this is arguably a lengthy exercise. Fortunately for listeners, it is not prolonged, but rather precise and captivating.

What this EP serves as is an emotive wave, which blends tempos, textures and tones to form something that, while not immediately accessible, is engaging. While genres like death metal or hardcore keep a similiar tempo, the soundscape of both Deafheaven and Bosse-de-Nage is best described as like a sonic roller coaster – peaking with screeching deliveries then bringing it down with tranquil instrumental moments.

Deafheaven’s contribution is more a contemporary take on things, with their input a cover. Merging Mogwai’s ‘Punk Rock’ & ‘Cody’ into one cohesive track, the group show appreciation and fondness for the original, while changing things up. That shoegaze persona is there, with the opening tranquility that featured on ‘Roads to Judah’ again prominent. The point of difference is, while Deaheaven offer a personal and emotional take on an ambient sound, the piercing vocals of George Clarke ensure this track has some venom and punch.

Bosse-de-Nage present a slightly deeper sound. It’s not black metal in the traditional sense. Again it’s a calmer opening before getting to the core, which is fast and assertive. It is a respectable contribution if nothing else, with the violins a welcome inclusion.

As far as two track EPs go, this is highly recommended.

The sky is simply the limit for Deafheaven. Some bands just create a fan out of the listener in a purely superficial and literal way. While, some demand unconditional attention through their innovation and progression. Deafheaven again deliver. Bosse-de-Nage provide the perfect tag-team and support here. When coupled together this is a solid EP.

Side A: Deafheaven – Punk Rock/Cody (Mogwai cover)

Side B: Bosse-de-Nage A Mimesis of Purpose