You reach the bottom of a cliff face after a perilous descent. A frozen lake extends out in front of you, with a large glacier jutting out from the opposite shore. You walk cautiously across the brittle ice to reach the glacial monolith. At the base of it is a cavernous opening leading into blackness. A vehement howl thunders through the tunnel and shakes the earth, shattering the frigid water behind you. You escape into the tunnel, and into the roaring darkness . . .
The words “black metal” and “beauty” aren’t usually found anywhere near one another, but this isn’t your typical, everyday black metal act. New Bermuda is the newest full-length from San Francisco-based group Deafheaven, a group known for making waves in the metal community since the release of their previous album, the highly polarizing but equally astounding Sunbather. This new record towers menacingly over their last.
New Bermuda is overwhelming, to say the least. Pummeling blast beat rhythms, earth-scorching guitar solos, and George Clarke’s banshee screams meld into onslaughts of sound that are remarkably mellifluous and, dare I say, catchy. In between the aural stampedes are quieter moments of melodic beauty that contrast stunningly with the mountains of sonic intensity. You won’t find black metal more euphonious than this.
Deafheaven have ruffled feathers because they dare to innovate within a genre that’s anchored in tradition. These guys know black metal, and they know it so well that they are able to infuse the exclusionary genre with seemingly disparate influences to create something new and captivating. Submit to its awe-inspiring power, and its beauty will be revealed. If you’re seeking melodically progressive black metal, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)