Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Deafheaven's critical acclaim off the back of Sunbather was one of the unexpected success stories of 2013. They gained fans outside of metal circles partly by recontextualising the genre, blending it together with delicate melodies and working in elements from the more inviting end of the indie rock spectrum. New Bermuda emotionally overloads the listener like a mixed-state manic episode; it's a darker autobiographical account than its predecessor, but equally gorgeous sonically. The whole band were present to record live to tape this time, resulting in the purest Deafheaven experience to date.
Brought to the Water sets the tone with its brutal blast-beats, bared-teeth vocals and waves of sorrowful guitars. Lead songwriter Kerry McCoy's more traditionally heavy influences immediately come to the forefront much more here; check the nasty, chugging riff that closes Baby Blue for swift evidence. George Clarke's rasps sound more pronounced, giving his vocals added weight. As they continually pair these fierce attacks with moments of delicacy, the band again showcase their mastery of blurring the lines between darkness and the light. [Ross Watson]