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Wednesday, August 5

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Transmission
« The Avantist to Bring "Truth In Light" To The Burlington On 10/29 Misterwives @ The Vic 10/30: Getting Pumped With Bassist Will Hehir »

Preview Mon Oct 26 2015

Deafheaven to Purge Ears @ Metro 10/30

Deafheaven has made a career out of defying expectations. There's black metal heard in their music, but they're not a black metal band; there's shoegazing ambiance in their music, but they're not a shoegaze band. Is the zebra a black metal horse with shoegaze stripes, or vice versa? Their third album New Bermuda came out early this month, and it tells a story of the failures that success brings.

Perhaps Sunbather's pink and yellow vinyl showcases the duality of the band. One moment, like at the very beginning of the record on "Brought to the Water," they're hammering down with sticky guitar riffs and the drums pummel with a double bass pedal. Minutes later, they're channeling the climatic and cinematic guitar arpeggios of post-rock groups like Explosions in the Sky before ending with a soft, waltzing piano interlude.

Their songs are strung like suites, each composed with multiple segments. When they contrast a cathartic climax against a much lighter piano interlude, they seem to be channeling the desolate soundscapes likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor rather than riding on the same shimmery songwriting structures of their last album. New Bermuda sounds denser and more compressed than the group's breakout Sunbather. Just as band worked hard not to fall in the same writing formulas, the listener has to work a little harder too.

Vocalist George Clarke's hardly decipherable screams sound like that of a goblin king. The record seamlessly flows between the loud, cathartic, and dissonant releases of their songs to the shimmery and self-reflective dream states the group gets locked into. They show this on songs like "Baby Blue," as a band that has played together for a few years can easily fall into the pocket with each other. Their dreamy textures with plenty of wah-wah or flanger effects works well to induce contemplation, while the metal aspect of their music gels with the anxiety, uncertainty, and despair that plagues so much of their lyrics. In other words, it's almost like the musical score is a translation of Clarke's mind.

In Sunbather, Deafheaven taught us that ugliness or bleakness can be beautiful; in New Bermuda they teach us that the image we try to perfect can be ugly. And in a year with so many big releases -- just to name a few: Tame Impala's Currents, Beach House's two albums, as well as the year's releases by Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, and Deerhunter -- New Bermuda adds another gem in a rich mineral vein.

And what better way to kick off the Halloween weekend than with a deafening blow to purge your ears? Bands Envy and Tribulation open, bringing metal as far away as Japan and Sweden to the Metro this Friday, October 30. Doors open at 6 pm, and tickets bought in advance are $20, which are available here, and $22 at the door.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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