deafheaven — Sunbather

Sunbather is the second LP from Deaf- heaven, a five-piece that displays some excellent new music in the realm of experimental metal. Think of Explosions In The Sky crossed with Wolves In The Throne Room.

Other albums of very similar content help give some context in which to understand Sunbather, but this similarity also cheap- ens the material a bit. This exact album, with its screaming vocals, relentless guitars, and impossibly fast drumming exe- cuted over the course of 12-minute songs, while remarkable, has been done by other groups a number of times already.

Sunbather’s one notable difference from its peers is its sunny overtones, reflected in the optimistic guitar leads and the brightly beautiful album art (the newsprint doesn’t do justice to the nice pink hue of it). This lightening of the mood proves to be its saving grace; it’s the only black metal album I’ve actually been able to enjoy.

In this album’s undifferentiated landscape of maximum sound, the minimum of actual ideas take on the feeling of barely discernible jewels hidden in the sand. More striking than the individual ideas, though, is the overall mood of this album. One gets the visceral feeling of huge, natu- ral vistas—like you’re flying over the earth, observing the majesty of mountain ranges, or the vastness of open deserts.

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Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.