Deafheaven – New Bermuda (ANTI-,2015)
Deafheaven have been caught in an unenviable spot; reviled by the most ardent of metal fans as being too “soft” and dismissed by more casual listeners for their black metal ties. Many were eager to see which side the band would cater to on their follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed Sunbather. Though New Bermuda doubles down on the austerity and largely omits the textured shoegaze that permeated their breakthrough album, Deafheaven ultimately adhere to a tried and true formula of blast beats and blissful post-rock crescendos, for better or worse. While some of the album’s most cathartic moments, such as the breathtaking second track, “Luna,” represent Deafheaven’s strongest, most focused songwriting yet, the band still manages to undercut too many of these passionate moments with the most nondescript of sappy post-rock and soft rock interludes, using them as an underwhelming crutch. For every sign of growth New Bermuda showcases, there’s a frustrating stumble just around the corner.
Trial Track: “Luna”