Deafheaven has always been one of the most unique sounding metal groups of the last decade, alongside being one of the more controversial. Mixing elements of the extreme metal genre black metal, with the polar opposite alternative sub-genre shoegaze, Deafheaven helped coin the amalgamative sub-genre ‘black-gaze.’ However, whenever a band experiments with a genre that’s embedded in an elitist and vile culture (i.e. black metal) they’re sure to stir the pot in a number of ways. With their latest single, “Great Mass of Color,” Deafheaven has done so once again but by ditching their black metal roots entirely, and instead opting for a more straightforward alt-rock ‘shoegaze’ aesthetic. The outcome is sheer brilliance.
Infinite Granite — the band’s fifth studio album — is set to release August 20th and it’ll will be the follow up to their acclaimed and grammy nominated record, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (2018). The new single establishes itself as the most intriguing teaser for an album that Deafheaven has put out since their claim to fame with Sunbather, and based off how vastly different and accessible the band sounds on “Great Mass of Color,” Infinite Granite could be the band’s biggest stride since their 2013 masterpiece. However, for longtime fan’s of Deafheaven there may be a bit of mixed feelings.
Prior to even hinting at their fifth album, the band released their heaviest track to date in 2019 with the single “Black Brick.” The hype built off this single had fans excited at the possibility of Deafheaven doing a full bore black-death metal inspired album. For one, the ongoing and spineless critique from the band’s ‘haters’ is that Deafheaven aren’t ‘true black metal’ (given their experimental shoegaze sound). Not to give any weight to those critiques, but “Black Brick” made for such a great surprise that it even managed to raise a few eyebrows from the so called elitists in the black metal community.
As much as it would be exciting to see Deafheaven do an album or EP in the same vein as “Black Brick,” they’ve already experimented in that realm enough with their first 3 records. Infinite Granite seems to be the best path moving forward if Deafheaven are to continue being one of metal’s most relevant and experimental acts. To that end, maybe the band completely ditches metal altogether on Infinite Granite.