Genres of music are being broken down into very specific, micro classifications due to the tags that taste makers, music bloggers, and critics fabricate to identify a certain styling that has yet to be labeled. At times, it can be difficult to keep up with but, at the same time, they are very fun to explore. Each week, I will explore a different sub-genre and try to explain the stains left on my shirt after climbing out of each tedious rabbit hole of musical stylings.
I was reading a review on Deafheaven’s Sunbather which I had assumed was either a dance record or an indie rock act based on its vibrant cover. I was shocked to find that what I was reading about had the surface packaging of a Los Angeles electro outfit. Instead, the review pointed out that there were no popping synth lines or pulsing bass. What was offered on the album was black metal. I pulled up the record on Spotify and started listening. Yup. Black metal. Machine gun drums, shrieking vocals, plodding bass lines and assaulting guitar chords. But there was a sort of shimmering softness to it. A kind of lush instrumentation on the downbeats. Is this the norm for a branch of metal most closely associated with Satanism, paganism, nihilism, I thought. What I found was when you hold Deafheaven’s music in contrast with the other acts it stands out as the brightest, most beautiful sounding thing there is. Everything else indicates that there is darkness ahead. Oh boy.