Deafheaven: Infinite Granite

Deafheaven has always had a poignantly original sound, even within the blackgaze genre they began in, mixing the white-noise of black metal screaming with flushes of melody and colorful post-rock. Infinite Granite, however, is quite different–the quality is all there, perhaps even at the band’s best, and in a way it’s still Deafheaven, but clean almost throughout with no exhilarating walls of diffuse, neon distortion and euphoric bursts of melody. George Clarke sings for the first time, having a quality that’s been properly described as “like The Cure;” and the atmosphere on this album takes on a serenely moody eighties gothic tone. The production is excellent, the drum work is complex enough to sustain interest, and the guitar sounds fresh and crisp yet bleeds into everything else as you’d expect from the band given their previous work.

Interestingly, the band cites Radiohead’s Kid A as a major influence on the album. “We were joking the whole time about wanting this to be our Kid A, where we filter our own sound through a different medium,” Clarke says. While the connection might not be readily apparent it is clear the band has managed to successfully open a new, compelling aspect of their musical repertoire with Infinite Granite; the work on it’s own definitely stands on it’s own. The downside, however, as other reviewers have noted, is that there isn’t much that is totally unexpected or unique about the album. It makes for a good listen when in the rain perhaps, or in certain moods, but it doesn’t quite reach out and grab you or make any truly lasting impressions.

The album overall maintains a cohesive sound that is split near the middle by a three minute beguiling ambient track aptly named “Neptune Raining Diamonds;” It fits right in and adds dimensionality. Aside from this almost every track is equally viable as a single, consisting mostly of hard-hitting, emotional “gothic rock” ballads, capped off with an eight minute departure covering someone’s final moments before death. It begins slowly and dreamily but at the conclusion of this track, and the climax of the album, we are treated to the band’s more traditional sound, the pace erupts and the screams bleed into powerful riffs, before finally dropping back off, and setting us gently down where we were, though perhaps moved, now, in a way.

Rating: 8.2/10

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