Deafheaven, too heavy for the indie crowd, too purty for the metal purists. What do you do when you’re the most polarizing band in the history of genres (not really but some people swear labels are still a huge deal in the 21st-century digital landscape)? ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love,’ the band’s fourth full-length album and second on Anti- records, is the sound of a band giving no fucks and playing exactly what they want, genres be damned.
Album opener, “You Without End” is a meditative, piano-centric journey. Deafheaven forgoes the usual kick things off with a bang routine and instead, opt to lure the listener down their seductive, post-everything; genre-less rabbit hole. With this new album, the band no longer cares to write metal songs, or ‘here comes the shoegaze bit’ or insert post-rock here sections; by now all of their sonic trademarks just sound like Deafheaven. The album’s first single, “Honeycomb” is the perfect example of this. It’s a hodgepodge of classic Deafheaven textures: tortured vocal shrieks, blast beats, and wondrous guitar melodies; beefed up with some 90’s alt-rock vibes throughout. “Honeycomb” is so masterfully stitched together, it feels more like a colorful sonic tapestry and not the 11 minute Frankenstein composition of disparate heavy and intricate parts that it technically is.
“Canary Yellow” follows suit, the longest and most mind-blowing song on the record. Never before have Deafheaven synthesized their various influences into such a potent and heart-swelling tune. The two minute intro is gorgeous, the mid-section features dancing ride cymbal magic and crazy catchy guitar harmonies. There’s a thunderous double bass drum earthquake underneath it all, which explodes into the blast beat blitzkrieg the band perfected on ‘New Bermuda.’ Somehow, someway, the song winds down with some bluesy guitar licks and the mightiest sing-along chorus you never thought you’d hear in a Deafheaven jam.
That’s why ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’ is such a rad record. Deafheaven is clearly having a blast, reveling in their sonic freedom and just going for it, crazy soccer chants and all. They’ve already riffed the night away on previous albums, George Clarke’s vocals can’t get any more tortured; it’s no wonder the band has embraced warmer, sunnier; rockin’ sounds. Don’t worry, the band hasn’t gone full optimist; “Near” is a somber shoegaze masterpiece that counters the uplifting high of “Canary Yellow” perfectly. “Night People” is a moody and introspective piano ballad, featuring Chelsea Wolfe’s lush, siren song vocals and Mr. Clarke himself; singing…like a human, and it’s amazing.
‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’ marks a new chapter in Deafheaven’s career. The metal vs indie wars of the past has been settled. Neither genre won, only the band emerged victoriously. The stuff they’re doing on this new record is for music fans, period. Remember to check your genre preference at the door; because the songs on this record are too damn good to pass up.
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