Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
If you’ve ever wanted to scream at the sky, Deafheaven's Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is the record for you
Though it wasn’t George Clarke and Kerry McCoy’s first record, most people’s introduction to Deafheaven came with Sunbather, the wildly acclaimed fusion of shoegaze and atmospheric metal with its instantly recognisable lurid pink cover. It was a record that reshaped a genre but one that begged some difficult questions, namely, how do you follow up a record that had become an almost-instant classic?
Follow-up New Bermuda bulked up and added some tough edges but didn’t quite rewrite the rules in the way its predecessor had done. Thankfully, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love has no such issues. Though Clarke’s vocals are still fractured and torn with grief, this is a supremely confident record, capable of flashes of melody that would be at home on a 70s AOR record set against pinwheeling drums and explosive, brutal riffs.
Opener, You Without End sounds like Slowdive playing in an underground cavern, summoning an almost psychedelic quality from its shimmering riffs, while lead single Honeycomb is a thunderous, elaborately constructed monster inspired by Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar that expertly blends classic rock melody with raw coursing muscle power. There’s even a piano-led track in Night People that teams Deafheaven with one of their spiritual descendants, Chelsea Wolfe.
Dark thoughts have never been far from Deafheaven – after all Sunbather used audio recordings of McCoy illegally purchasing opiates – but they understand the catharsis of purging, riffs swelling and bursting outwards on tracks like the merciless Glint. If you’ve ever wanted to scream at the sky this is the record for you. Needless to say, it’s one of the best-produced records of the year.
On album closer Worthless Animal, drums batter out a martial tattoo as claustrophobic riffs hang like shrouds around Clarke’s howling vocals. It’s bleak and bruised but builds to a beatific higher plane. As always Deafheaven are anything but ordinary.
Listen to: Honeycomb, Canary Yellow