Ever since their debut album Roads To Judah, Deafheaven have been on a steady incline. Each record outdid the previous in scope, musicality, and artistic depth. Their sound was loud, abrasive, and aggressive, but also extremely melodic and at times melancholy. “Blackgaze” , combining black metal and shoegaze, may be a trite tag but it fits. Extreme music that is just on the verge of some kind of musical evolutionary transcendence.
Every album has been a step into a sound more ethereal and dreamy. Deafheaven, which began as a two-piece with singer George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, is now a five-piece and a force to be reckoned with. One 2018s Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, the band made their most open and airy album yet. Still heavy and intense, but a shimmering sensibility was just under the surface. Clarke and McCoy never wanted to stay in the same place for more than an album, and OCHL was opening the curtain and revealing a band ready to leap into the future.
Infinite Granite is that future. Nine songs filling nearly an hour, Deafheaven have ascended. Clarke’s screamed, pained vocals are nearly completely gone. In there place are a breathy voice with lilting beauty that is only matched by the shimmering guitar lines and synth touches. Daniel Tracey carries the songs along with controlled but flurried drums. Infinite Granite is the album Deafheaven have been working towards. It’s lush, dreamy, thought-provoking, and one of the best albums of the year.
“Shellstar” is the grand album opener. The band continues to experiment with dynamics to stunning effect. Optimism swirls with bittersweet melodies and jangly guitar, which builds to a grand crescendo thanks to the twin guitar attack of Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra. It’s grandiose and exquisite in every way. “In Blur” shows the new George Clarke vocals beautifully. The guitars have a Johnny Marr feel, while Tracey’s drums keep the song moving at a breakneck pace.
There’s a fantastic instrumental in “Neptune Raining Diamonds”, all swirling, ambient synths that bring us into the almost dream pop glory of “Lament For Wasps”. Deafheaven have always had these little moments of beauty throughout their discography, but “Lament For Wasps” makes good on those moments. Touches of jangle pop and post-rock make this song a sonic masterpiece to dive into for many listens. Album closer “Mombasa” builds slowly over 8 minutes, starting with acoustic guitar and ending in a wash of intensity.
Infinite Granite is one of those albums that is so good you’re not sure how a band could top it. It’s dreamy, intense, transcendent, and dense enough that you’ll be unboxing the work here for many listens to come. Deafheaven have achieved yet another masterpiece of sonic bruised beauty. Where they go from here, I don’t know. But I’m in wherever that may be.
9.5 out of 10