DEAFHEAVEN

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Pure Grain Audio Review: Deafheaven - “Roads To Judah”



What’s the current situation with North American Black Metal? To answer that question we should probably turn our attention to California, which seems to be the creative epicenter for extreme music collectives with leanings toward this genre. Take for example Cormorant, Abigail Williams and the relatively new Deafheaven, whose Deathwish Records' debut Roads To Judah announces the birth of one of the most arresting American bands in recent times.

Stylistically, Roads To Judah is a four song monolith that sounds like many things you probably - at least incidentally - have listened to before: old school Scandinavian Black Metal, Shoegaze, Post Rock, Screamo, Indie Rock, etc. However, it’s in the marriage of these apparent dissimilar genres that this quintet finds its true and unique voice. The resulting sound can only be described as a musical match created on the borderline of heaven and hell. Every song is an epic on its own right and a genuine roller coaster of contrasting moods and emotions. Although all tracks basically maintain the same flow, “Violet” and “The Tunnel Of Trees” become the most sonically ambitious in terms of length and scope. These compositions combine ethereal textures with the blistering attack of blast beats, vertiginous pseudo melodic riffing and distorted cathartic vocals. It’s really impressive how this band is capable of evoking early-day Emperor, Radiohead and many others on the same song, without sacrificing class or originality.

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Deafheaven Live Videos from March 31, 2012 - Brooklyn NY



DEAFHEAVEN, ALCEST and VAURA performed at Public Assembly in Brooklyn, NYC on March 31, 2012.


Roads To Judah & demo Now In Any File Size Download


DEAFHEAVEN DIGITAL


Skateboarder Magazine Names Roads To Judah in their Top 11 Albums of 2011

Deafheaven | Roads to Judah

Shoegaze with a heavy black metal influence and somehow it works. Check it out.
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No Clean Singing’s 2011 List of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs

DEAFHEAVEN

Deafheaven’s album debut, Roads To Judah, has appeared on a shitload of Best of 2011 lists. It’s one of the best I heard last year, too. It includes only four songs, but they’re long ones. The longest, at more than 12 minutes, is the opening track “Violet”. I was stunned by the song when I first heard the recording, and then it planted itself even more firmly in my skull when I heard deafheaven perform it at the beginning of their live set in Seattle last November (part of a mini-tour with Russian Circles).

I used to wonder if it was possible for romanticism and black metal to co-exist. “Cold” and “icy” are words frequently used to describe the sonic template of black metal, but it’s undeniable that the genre is infused with passion. It’s just that the passions generally seem only to span a range from seething bitterness to blood-hungry rage. But with “Violet”, deafheaven wear their hearts on their sleeves (and don’t think that means the music is wimpy — it isn’t).

The song begins with an instrumental introduction that lasts more than four minutes. When the band perform the song on stage, dramatic (and unusually clean-cut) vocalist George Clarke turns sideways to the audience and slowly but thoroughly immerses himself in the melodic sweep of the music, rocking back and forth with the slow beat, using the mic stand to support himself. The intro builds to a screeching crescendo and then an eruption of blast beats signal a marked increase in intensity as Clarke’s scarring vocals make their appearance.

At a about 7 minutes, a solo of blazing tremolo-picked guitars carve a change in the melody. The intense wave of dark melody resumes, but is interrupted again with a chiming guitar interlude, followed again by a cascade of dense guitar chords that wash the listener out to sea.

It’s not a complicated piece of music, but it sure as hell has stuck in my head for months, so I think it belongs on this list:

“Violet”

deafheaven can be found on facebook here and their Bandcamp page is at this place, where deafheaven is offering their excellent demo (which preceded Roads To Judah) with a “name your price” option. By visiting this location, you can also get a free high-quality download of deafheaven’s entire live set on January 15th, 2011, at a loading dock turned venue called “The Blacktop” in Bell Gardens, California. Another deafheaven live set from that Russian Circles tour in November can also be freely downloaded here.


Alternative Matter Review: Roads To Judah



American black metal band, Deafheaven formed in of 2010 in San Francisco California.  George Clarke (vocals) and Kerry McCoy (guitar), previously partnered in a grindcore band decided to record a demo under the new name Deafheaven, releasing limited cassettes and digital copies of their latest efforts.  This new combination of screeching black metal vocals and post-metal influences was never intended for a wide audience but soon began to gain interest and was positively received though some of their favorite blogs. Following this positive exposure, the band decided to recruited bassist Derek Prine, guitarist Nick Bassett of the band Whirr, and drummer Trevor Deschryver to complete the lineup and signed to Deathwish Inc. soon after.  Though it was not Deathwish founder Jason Bannon’s primary intention when signing the band, to release more that their demo to a wider audience, by this time the band had come up with a plethora of new material.  Enough so, that they convinced him to allow the release of both the demo and the new tracks.  Due to their perseverance, Deafheaven now presents us with their first full length album, only a year after the bands initial conception.

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Meat Mead Metal Top 10 Albums of 2011 / Roads To Judah # 7


7. DEAFHEAVEN, “Roads to Judah” (Deathwish Inc.): I always feel like when I describe a metal album as gorgeous, which I’ve already done a few times during this list, that someone’s going to ask me what size dress I wear and if I want any tea. But what are you going to do? If the word fits then it does, and I defy you to listen to Deafheaven’s debut full-length offering of post-metal shoegaze and black metal eruption and tell me you don’t sense the absolute beauty in the music. It sometimes feels like a rush of tears to the face, it’s that affecting, and over the summer when I was dealing with some really raw emotional turbulence, “Roads to Judah” often came along with me when I could take no more. Something about it helped connect with the hell in which I was immersed, and I feel like it helped me get over the speed bump a little bit. That doesn’t even really match the lyrical content, that deals more with self-destruction, regret and its aftermath, but sonically, it helped me soar a little just when I needed to do so.

The band began as a duo – vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy – but since has blown up to full ranks to play live. And they’re quite the behemoth, as they leveled the Smiling Moose here in November and probably will need to play somewhere larger next time they come around. Just so whatever building they play doesn’t collapse. The four songs on their debut full-length can go from serene and thoughtful to obliterating in a manner of seconds, and their cascading sound sometimes has been described as screamo. I don’t hear it, but they do share some of the sonic tenets as that genre when it began. It has nothing to do with the homeless, education-starved child that music has become. Actually, who cares what it’s called? “Roads to Judah” is a quaking debut album from a band that should have a major role in shaping domestic black metal to come.

To buy “Roads to Judah,” go here:
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The Copenhagen Post’s Top International Album Lists - Roads To Judah #1 


1. Deafheaven, Roads to Judah
A black metal band on a hardcore label whose debut release has a grand total of four tracks sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it’s actually the makings of the best extreme metal album of 2011. Despite seeming like diametric opposites, deafheaven’s despair via black metal finds a perfect partner in the elongated soundscapes of shoegaze, Roads to Judah is deeply personal. - Matthew Grant Anson

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THKD Best Debut of 2011 

Best Debut Album


Deafheaven – Roads to Judah (Deathwish)
Deafheaven’s debut album is as venomous and visceral as it is beautiful; black metal, post rock and post hardcore collide to create the musical accompaniment to a fever dream of total debauchery. Some metal heads have labeled Deafheaven with the bullshit “hipster black metal” tag; apparently the idea of dudes who don’t feel the need to don corpsepaint, spikes and inverted crosses identifying with and creating great black metal is somehow intimidating, which is the only logical explanation for such silliness. If that’s indeed the case, then black metal traditionalists should be afraid of Deafheaven, very, very afraid.

Read THKD’s review of Roads to Judah HERE.


SSG Music Top 50 Albums - Roads To Judah



Brooklyn Vegan’s Top 30 Heavy Albums / Deafheaven at #9



Six Noises: Names Deafheaven at #8 On Best Metal Albums 2011



Treble’s 10 Best Metal Albums // Roads To Judah #6


MSN: Top 50 Heavy Albums of 2011 / Roads To Judah #17





Treble Review: Roads To Judah



The concept of “metalgaze” is problematic to more than a few metal listeners. It hardly requires a scouring of the deepest, darkest corners of a heshers-only message board to find an objection to the heavy metal and shoegazer hybridization on the grounds that a.) it’s not actually metal and b.) it’s a stupid name. For the latter, I might suggest “shoe-metal” as a viable alternative, but the former is a complaint that’s never going away, much like the painfully outdated criticisms of market savvy musicians as being “sell outs,” or that rappers who like expensive champagne aren’t “real.” For as much ire as shoegaze-influenced metal bands seem to draw, however, the pursuit is worthwhile, as artists like Jesu, Alcest and Wolves In the Throne Room have demonstrated via their own awe-inspiring works of power and density. Neither metal nor noise rock is a conventionally beautiful genre, after all, but each has been known to yield beauty well beyond the expected formula of energy and distortion.

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