Deafheaven New Bermuda Anti -
Deafheaven have long owed as much to glacial post-rock and the magisterial screamo of Funeral Diner as they have Mutillation and Hate Forest. But the inspired creative tangents of New Bermuda, their third full length and first for Anti-, threatens to throw the few KVLT / troo black metal vanguard with any post-Liturgy energy left into further throes of apoplexy.
Whatever the naysayers claim, New Bermuda is a solidly extreme metal record, down in no small part to Dan Tracey’s increasingly ridiculous drumming and George Clarke’s more prominent, theatrical vocals. But it’s the sonic curveballs that are of particular interest. The much-discussed nods to Sixpence None The Richer in record opener Brought To The Water are especially conspicuous given that the familiar arpeggiated chords come straight off the back off an intro that channels both 80s thrash and classic Darkthrone. From the laconic slide guitar of Come Back to the washed-out Oasis-isms of Gifts for the Earth, Britpop is an influence previously cited, though it still comes as a surprise that it’s been followed through on, and with any success.
The rest of New Bermuda continues to hone Deafheaven’s existing strain of undulating, climactic black metal to fine effect. It doesn’t top 2013’s Sunbather (duh) and lacks the sonic consistency of 2012’s Roads to Judah, but New Bermuda is a singular, expansive record that seriously threatens to blow the genre into the (relative) mainstream. A cliché of a sign off perhaps, but where Deafheaven will go from here is, genuinely, anyone’s guess.