Earning hipster act status, Deafheaven defies orthodoxy

There are no pink album covers in black metal.

Oh, Deafheaven, look what you’ve gone and done.

Perhaps the most acclaimed metal band of 2013, the San Francisco quintet was also the year’s most polarizing.

With their much-lauded second album, “Sunbather,” the group broadened the black metal palate with swelling, enveloping guitars oft-associated with the foot-asleep-on-the-distortion-pedal drone of the British shoegazer ranks.

Singer George Clarke’s agonized shrieks rooted the band in black metal, but everything else about the group was decidedly less monochromatic, right down to the aforementioned record sleeve.

The album won the band an audience beyond the traditional partisans of the harsh, love-it-or-leave-it sound, and as such, Deafheaven was quickly branded a hipster act by scene purists.

We bet that’s fine with this bunch: Adhering to orthodoxy has never been their thing, anyway.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.


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