Words by Joe Gilbertson
– “We are Deafheaven, and this is ‘Brought to the Water’”
Those are the only words frontman George Clarke says before his band explode into the opening piece from their third record New Bermuda, which they are performing in full tonight. It does little to prepare anyone for what they are about to witness – a turbulent, twisting flight of visceral black metal intertwined with blissful shoegaze and cinema-scope post rock crescendoes. The sound in Bristol’s The Fleece does them tremendous justice, making their music sound more intense and absorbing than ever before. The band, for the most part, make no attempts at showmanship of any kind, simply letting their music flood through the room in waves, letting each section build to it’s stunning climax and die away into echoes of reverb and effects. At the centre of it all is Clarke, who seems more lost in his performance than any other metal frontman.
It’s hard to not sound at least a little bit pretentious when describing Deafheaven’s music, but it’s anything but unjustified. By the time the band have moved on to their final piece, the simply incredible ‘Dream House’ from their 2013 masterpiece Sunbather, the band have transcended their contemporaries in extreme music and taken their audience with them.