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Deafheaven - Sunbather CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.75 | 57 ratings

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2 stars Potato - Potato

The last review I did, I inadvertently flew halfway across the globe from the thousand lakes of Finland to the land of milk and honey. Well that's me in a nutshell... Even when I plan something ahead - like this little review stint of mine - going from country to country, I still manage to surprise myself and do something uncalled for and silly...

Oh well all the more reason to get excited, because whereas a great portion of proggers out there bow their heads in eternal gratitude to the ever succulent and vivacious whims of the English isles, there are still some of us who believe that their bastard child way out in the west has produced some remarkable albums through the years.....and while this certainly isn't one of them, it is still what I choose to write about just to keep things nicely out of check and confusing. Just the way I like it.

I've seen a disturbing tendency on other reviewing websites of late - in particularly on Rate Your Music, where young peeps herald current albums as sonic originators, milestones of certain genres - and all of a suddenly this pseudo musical "knowledge" becomes fact. It irritates the hell out of me.

Deafheaven's Sunbather is a perfect case to illustrate this. Many people seem to hear this as an altogether fresh and progressive branching of the ever winding metal tree, and while the band must be said to have their fingers on the pulse of today's current fluctuations and musical gang-banging, the people claiming Deafheaven as unique maestros of progressive post metal shoegaze are still missing the obvious: This album is a major rip-off of the Alcest sound. It's so obvious that it literally screams at you! There's a pun intended there - especially seeing as this album basically draws on the ethereal panoramic post rock of Neige and fellow compatriots, and then leaves out any of the gentle singing.

Boiled down, Sunbather sounds like a heavier take on Écailles de Lune much credited to the cement mixing double pedal drumming and the ear shattering screamo vocals. You get the same huge wall of sound from the guitars - sounding like oceanic tidal waves feeding off one another in beautifully wavering patterns - the same nonchalant ways about the production side of things pulling the album neatly close to the current fad of Black Metal, and last but not least: the attempt at mixing all of these facets together in order to make something airy, heavy, dreamy and soaring. They do succeed on more than one occasion, but for my tastes there's a lack of subtlety. A non-existent vacuum of flow that eludes these guys from start to finish. Something that Alcest does so incredibly well.

These guys may sport chops the size of anabolic sheep farmers, but then again I've always preferred mind over matter - sauce over gravy - brain over brawl. The drums are a perfect example of this. Sounding like an amphetamine fuelled spastic, this guy seeks to highlight every note and shading to his surroundings, that every important peak seems to end up over-thought and hurried - like Mike Portnoy playing the drums during an uncomfortable pat down at the airport...

If you however are searching high and low for something comparable to the aforementioned French dreamer and furthermore feel indifferent about plagiarism, then you'll probably love this thing like sliced bread. To me personally, this is like hearing The Watch after a good Genesis sit down - or munching on an unpeeled potato after a big plate of pommes frites.

Guldbamsen | 2/5 |


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