New Bermuda is Deafheaven’s debut for the ANTI label. It’s their second album and follows-up the commercially and critically successful Sunbather album. Deafheaven take their musical cues from black metal band Weakling and the feedback-drenched shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine. It’s fair to say that commercial success was not expected with their debut! Now they hope to repeat the feat with New Bermuda.
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Here’s the little album that couldn’t: a black metal/shoegaze hybrid that failed to garner even a modicum of love from any of our staff. Deafheaven already made us squirm back in 2013 with the earnest and aspirational ‘Sunbather’, an album that proved them to be the Explosions In The Sky of extreme metal, but this one is an off-the-chain cringefest: blastbeats dovetailing into post-rock guitar scraping into melodic post-hxc breakdowns humming into piano ballads, plus the kind of riffs you’d hear half way through a bad math rock album. Literally all in the first ten minutes of the album. On ‘Sunbather’ they said “I want to dream”; I just want to wake up.
As bastions for black metal on mainstream blogs, one has to admire Deafheaven’s attempt to dynamise a genre generalised as set in its ways, known for an impossibly inaccessible sound, bad production quality and abhorrent facism (at least to those who haven’t dug into some of the great contemporary stuff coming out now visa vi Hope Drone, Dawn Ray'd, and so on). ‘New Bermuda’ shows a band who want to couple its steadfast intensity with the emotive catharsis of other heavy but expressive musics. The calibration, though, feels utterly ridiculous, coupling gorgeous melodies that would fit well in a more song-written form with that real dirge goodness; the opening salvo of “Baby Blue”, with its heart-melting slowcore guitar tone, curves into scorched-earth BM screams and unholy chugs that feel violently opposed to it.
“Come Back” crashes between the kind of riffs I’d expect Opeth to make on a collab album with 65daysofstatic and furious drums on a complete disregard hype -- at one point they put away the oscillating riff and bring in a chord sequence that reminds me of a Sum 41 hit. If Deafheaven were playing just one of these elite genres, it’d be very easy to take them seriously: they’re technical wizards and equally good bringers of the sad, but a cross-pollination of black metal with a couple of seriously dated styles is hardly where I want my 2015 to be at.
8/10 bigfatdan Customer review, 6th February 2016
I was massive fan their previous album 'Subather' and so were a lot of people, it certainly got all the credit it deserved, would 'New Bermuda' live up to expectation? I think it does, is it better than 'Sunbather'? No, but I do believe it can sit proudly next to it as a well crafted belter!
I'm not a massive fan of traditional black metal and lord knows i've tried to be, Deafheaven sit in the middle, black metal screams mixed with heavy harmonies and bone crushing riffage, one of my albums of 2015
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