field report no.102719

SUBJECT: Deafheaven

Interesting crowd. Deafheaven are walking a razor thin line, trying to expand the audience of a very niche genre. Their debut managed to cross over without putting off the core fans, cross-pollinating black metal’s relentless scree with the delirious wall of melodic noise generated by shoegaze. Deafheaven’s newest album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, ups the dynamics, punctuating the shroud of guitar with piano led interludes worthy of gothic drama.

Live, there’s something inherently performative inherent in such extreme music, and you must sell it to the audience. When Deafheaven pulls it off, they approach transcendence, their maelstrom sweeping you along. The points where I couldn’t manage a suspension of disbelief, I’d laugh to myself, thinking, “they’re the INXS of black metal”.

Openers, Diiv, were a much-lauded band who disappeared for long enough, they’re having trouble restarting the hype machine. What I saw this night was a band moving from their dream pop influences to embracing a strong Television vibe—which is an admirable choice—but troublesome, as Television are a pervasive influence of modern indie-rock. I need to hear it on record though, as live, the sound was too muddy, not nearly distinct enough in its pointillism.

NOTES: Deafheaven; Diiv