Deafheaven Ordinary Corrupt Human Love ANTI- Records
Since their 2013 breakthrough record Sunbather, California metal band Deafheaven have occupied a strange space in the genre’s lore – they’re too visceral for the majority of the indie crowd, yet too well-dressed for the heavy music purists. Their stunning, evocative take on shoegazey metal captured hearts while still not quite attaining full crossover, and alienated a bunch of unholier-than-thou black metal bores in the process. Deafheaven’s fourth record, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, is more than worthy of the wider acclaim that Sunbather (and its follow-up, 2015’s New Bermuda) looked set to garner.
A sprawling opus of glacial post-rock passages and searing black metal extremity, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love thrives in its heel-turn approach to genre. Where New Bermuda channeled the group’s passion for Britpop into something more melodically impactful, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love takes a different tack, embracing the orchestral elements of Deafheaven’s instrumental makeup. Night People, a collaboration with goth rock artist Chelsea Wolfe, is surely the first metal track fit for the Proms.
The most impressive confluence is not in the record’s sonics, however, but in its thematics. Clarke’s scorched vocal wraps its way around lovelorn poetry worthy of timelessness, the romantic lyrical intimacy of Glint a particular highlight. It’s a captivating contrast – one that questions the very nature of human emotion and its expression and pins Ordinary Corrupt Human Love as a masterpiece of both the beautiful and the bleak.