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JOSÉ’S BAND OF THE WEEK: DEAFHEAVEN
True story: I had a flat tire during a long car ride this weekend. As I was removing the offending rubber circle, the spare that I had leaning against a wall waiting to be changed lost its balance and fell with a mighty thud. On my hand. The outcome wasn’t exactly life-threatening, but it was enough to leave me with a couple of black & blue fingers and a few cuts and bruises. When I looked at my hand, and this shows pretty well the pathological nature of my relationship with music, my first thought was “yeah, can’t really place it right now, but there’s a record cover that kinda looks like that.” My second one was to try to move my fingers back and forth to see if no bones had been mashed in the process.
A few days later, I have good news all round: although my hand is still a bit half-purple, the bone structure is intact, but more importantly, I’ve remembered where that cover in my head was from – some demo I had downloaded a few weeks ago because the band name, Deafheaven, sounded cool, and that bruised and frostbitten hand with the sky-coloured background seemed slightly creepy, but that I hadn’t bothered to listen to yet. Taking these events as a definite sign from the Music Gods, I played ‘DFHVN’ on Sunday. It’s now Wednesday and I’m still excitedly listening to the thing, all four songs and 24 minutes of it, in between my rotation of the current addictions that are Wolvserpent, US Christmas, Black Sun, Swans and Killing Joke. Hell, I’m annoyed that it isn’t a proper album, because it would surely fit on the top 20 list that everyone will start asking me for real soon for the dreaded end of year lists.
Sorry for lazy journalism, but I have no idea who Deafheaven are. I did the responsible thing and investigated (ie, I googled for twenty minutes until I realized that time could be better spent by listening to ‘DFHVN’ again and gave up), but all I know is that they’re from San Francisco. Says there on their MySpace. Doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is that with their first ever demo release and without so much as a band photo these people have unleashed a mind-numbing mix of Krallice/Wolves In The Throne Room hypnotic post-black metal fury, Envy-like euphoric melancholia and Alcest/Amesoeurs-style beautiful sadness that easily outclasses most of what has been released recently within these areas. If, within the confined space of these 24 minutes, they can introduce this sort of variety – the relentless emotional seesaw of ‘Libertine Dissolves’, the gentle acoustics of ‘Bedrooms’, the exhilarating surge of ‘Daedalus’ and the slow funereal savagery of closer ‘Exit: Denied’ – one can only imagine what they’ll do on a real album. It’ll be the sort of thing that both kvltsters and hipsters will be able to agree, for once. If there isn’t a superstar line-up behind this stuff, there is some serious talent in desperate need of recognition here.
Bottom line – go get it. If enough of us throw a buck or two their way, hopefully that album will come sooner rather than later. Maybe they’ll even tell us their names then.
José’s Band of the Week isn’t so dependent on personal injury as this week’s band might make it seem. You can recommend me stuff at email@example.com and I’ll consider it every Wednesday even without you breaking any of my bones. Thank you.