Posts Tagged ‘George Clarke’

Buy Online Deafheaven - 10 Years Gone Coloured

For the past ten years, San Francisco rock / post-metal luminaries Deafheaven have built one of the most compelling discographies in metal, one that has challenged both the modus operandi and perceptions of the genre. Each critically acclaimed release widened the scope of their particular views of what rock and metal can be, capped by their most innovative album to date in 2018’s “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love”. It all began though, with the 2010, four-song Demo released to Bandcamp by the bands founding members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy. Set to embark on a world tour earlier this year to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band and the five albums released in that span, Deafheaven had to switch gears when COVID canceled all gatherings across the world, instead teaming with long time producer Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden studios to bring the show they planned to perform in a studio sessions format.

The only live albums I’ve ever really connected with have been documentations of tours I’d seen in person. Deafheaven touring their 2018 LP Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, illustrating their sun-peaking-out-from-behind-a-cloud black metal with sunflowers strewn about the stage, which contrasted with the feral growls and extreme-black-metal getup of vocalist George Clarke. While their forthcoming live record 10 Years Gone serves as a stand in for the anniversary tour they’d planned for 2020, most of the track list is familiar to anyone who caught their OCHL tour a few years back. “Daedelus,” though, is a new addition to their live show, both recalling their early years (being the first song they ever wrote) while relaunching expectations for what future Deafheaven sets will look like. 

10 Years Gone includes the first song they ever wrote in “Daedalus” from the first album Demo, which also serves as the first single released from this album, along with fan favourites like “Dream House” and “Vertigo” that have an added power in this setting. Deafheaven named ‘Artist of the Decade’ by Vice, along with albums featured in ‘Best of 2010s’ lists on Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Metacritic, AV Club and many more.

Three previous albums Sunbather, New Bermuda and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love have received incredible praise from press and named ‘Best New Music’ by Pitchfork.

In 2011, Deafheaven founders George Clarke and Kerry McCoy used their debut album, Roads to Judah, to establish their new band’s sound: a mix of sparkling post-rock guitars, wistful shoegaze, blast beats and, most conspicuously, Clarke’s strangled, hissing vocals, obviously influenced by screamo and black metal bands.

Then in 2013, the rest of the world caught on via the band’s second album Sunbather, which presented Clarke and McCoy’s yearning romanticism, genre-blind approach and clean-cut look through a polished lens. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive and the band’s audience grew significantly, but purists from many corners of the musical world

Clarke and McCoy did what any good punks would do: They went harsher and heavier and darker on their third album, New Bermuda, stripping away some of the daydreamy haze of their previous works. Not that it mattered much. For most listeners (the ones who would ever encounter Deafheaven, at least) their opinion of the band had been formed. They were either brilliant stylistic synthesists or eternal poseurs. There is no in between,

On Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, Deafheaven gets back to being exactly what it wants to be, and they waste no time diving way down into the deep end. Opening track “You Without End” is more or less a piano-pop song with a vaguely ’80s vibe, adorned with a spoken-word piece by Nadia Kury, decidedly non-blast drum beats and guitars that swoop and soar. Deafheaven, without question, has a distinctive sound. Here, however, they don’t sound like themselves until Clarke comes in halfway through, howling about dark tunnels and glowing orbs and love. Later, “Night People” and “Near continue the band’s explorations; the former a goth-rock duet with Chelsea Wolfe, and the latter a pillowy psych number reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Clarke sings cleanly on both; no snarls, no growls, and so on. The guitars have always been Deafheaven’s bleeding edge, even when they were obscured by black metal vocals or handsome haircuts or bright pink album cover art. Deafheaven is a ambitious heavy rock band, a gathering of innovative musical minds, and one of the very best guitar bands on Earth. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is strong evidence of all three.