Sunbather by Deafheaven begins with a roar. Nine-minute epic Dream House releases a huge scream and fast, rolling drums on the world. I imagine being atop a mountain and letting out all my frustration and anger after a bad week. The song slows towards the middle and all goes calm. You can almost hear the wind rustling the leaves. But this is just a pause to take in breath before a second, bigger, slower, deeper and more powerful roar. Like the bright pink album cover, this a bold start.
We drift gently into the lovely interlude Irresistable. This pattern of long, heavy song followed by slower, shorter interlude is continued throughout the seven track album, giving it a nice balance. As well as this, the songs often move and change within themselves allowing the record to flow perfectly.
Next up is Sunbather, more grand and controlled than Dream House, the opening and middle sections of the song feature lots of rapid drumming and metal screaming. However it’s the end of the song I find wonderful, simultaneously building up and slowing down.
A French accent reads in English an extract from a poetic-sounding book to begin Please Remember, the first of two excellent pieces of experimentalism that add artistic depth to the record. A disturbing array of sounds grows louder before a drilling noise becomes almost unbearingly deafening. The drilling stops and an acoustic guitar winds down the rest of the song in beautiful melancholy. Windows features a recording from a drug deal contrasted against a religious preaching about wrath, over a dark and haunting soundtrack.
Like the other metal songs that have come before it, closing track The Pecan Tree begins with fast-paced, rolling drumming and roaring vocals. Easily the weakest opening on the album is over reasonably quickly however before things slow into a perhaps the most beautiful seven minutes of the album. All is peaceful as the album fades gently into the distance.
I visited Iceland earlier this year and the album reminds me a lot of the landscape there, famous for its volcanoes, gaping waterfalls, icy glaciers and geysirs. It’s grand, it’s sparse, it’s dark but above all, it’s incredibly beautiful.
Easily my favourite metal album.