One of my favorite introductions to an album ever is the first minute of “Printemps émeraude” on Alcest’s Souvenirs d’un autre monde. Bells clang together, the mist rolls off the beach, and jagged yet soothing post rock guitars climb. I love it so much, I wrote about it at length here if you feel inclined to explore this masterpiece further. It’s a moment that always gives Lobo what the kids refer to as “the feels”. I try to veer away from internet vernacular, but the ambiguous descriptor feels particularly appropriate in this case. Truth be told, I don’t know what it makes me feel, but I feel something. Alcest’s discography is full of moments that make me feel a wide range of emotions along the happiness and comfort spectrums, but none of them pull quite the same reaction as those “Printemps” guitars.

Countless blackgaze bands have gone on to try and recreate that ineffable Alcest magic, but most have failed. It just isn’t something that can be replicated. That “thing” is either something you have or don’t. And then 2013 happened and I heard that “thing” all over Deafheaven’s Sunbather. It’s there in the post hardcore leanings of “Dream House”. It’s in the watery guitar break of the title track and it cascades down and all around in the climax of “The Pecan Tree”. Even when Deafheaven went darker and heavier on New Bermuda it was still there presiding over the gloom like a rising sun. Stretches of beauty and catharsis are found in pretty much every Deafheaven song – it’s just who they are. Aggressive instrumentals and vocals are what make up the bulk of the track, but the climax or the come down is reserved for something gentle. But, this new track, “Canary Yellow”, is different. “Canary Yellow” is Deafheaven taking the pretty passage and making a whole song our of it. It’s that “thing”, but an enitre song.

For twelve minutes the track takes it’s time drifting along through shimmering guitar leads and calming double bass rolls and blast beats. But, none of it sounds wandering or sleepy. Like walking along the coastline, there’s a destination in mind. The track closes with George Clark screaming above group backing vocals lifting him up and repeating “My lover’s blood rushes through me/ Wild, fantastic”. It’s a communal moment about love, acceptance, and happiness and it’s by far the best thing I’ve heard all year.  I’m not even sure if this qualifies as black metal anymore. I won’t even call this post-black metal. There’s been a whole lot of talk about how the upcoming album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, sounds a lot like the Smashing Pumpkins’ classic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but after hearing “Canary Yellow” I don’t know if I’m inclined to believe that. Instead, I think it sounds like what Deafheaven have been striving for this whole time. Listen below.

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is out 7/13 on Anti.

  • Blochead4real

    This Smashing Pumpkins nonsense is exactly that. The people saying it sounds like Smashing Pumpkins are people that don’t listen to metal so are at a complete loss to compare it to anything they know. So there are some “gazier” moments here and, well, fuck it, “THAT SOUNDS LIKE SMASHING PUMPKINS” spills out of their face. If this sounds like Smashing Pumpkins then surely it sounds like My Bloody Valentine. But the thing is it doesn’t sound like that 90’s shogaze-y at all. Yeah, there are some 90’s alt vibes in here. Which are just modified 70’s rock vibes. As you guys know I’m far from a metal expert. But trying to compare a dude screaming over drums playing a zillion miles an hour are nothing more than the utterly ignorant trying to place a label on something like simply do not understand.

    • lobster man

      At first, I didn’t really mind the smashing pumpkins thing because i really like Mellon Collie, but it has gotten on my nerves a bit. Before I pressed play I was expecting something like Mellon Collie’s title track and this isn’t that at all. The only real comparison that can be made between the two is that it’s “big” and “dreamy”. Other than that, I don’t hear anything that sounds like Billy Corgan anywhere here. Hit me up on twitter or the blocland conference room if you’d like my unfiltered thoughts on the whole thing.

      ANYWHO I’m very excited for where this album appears to be headed.

      And hey! Don’t sell your metal knowledge short. You listen to Blut aus Nord, man!

    • DFrye

      THIS DOES NOT SOUND LIKE SMASHING SHITHEADS FUCKERS

      • lobster man

        Get that pumpkins shit outta here

        • mjhk75

          Smashing Pumpkins are one of my favourite bands of all time; I’ve probably listened to Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie more than any other (non-metal) albums in my entire life. This does NOT sound like the Pumpkins. It does, however, sound really fucking good. Can’t wait for this album!

  • Black Antlers

    lalalalalalalala…I’m not listening to this until the album drops. In the meantime I’ll just draw my necessary Deafheaven sustenance from your write up lobster. I’ve never really understood the BM tag being applied so liberally to these guys, they’ve always at best only had one foot in that camp, and that’s no disrespect to Deafheaven. Instead there’s always been a churning mass of other influences too, metal and otherwise. I guess it’s George’s Ishan style vocals that most people focus on when bandying around the BM. Bit worried about the rumours I hear of him doing cleans on this album as I don’t subscribe to the notion that clean vocals are inherently better than filthy ones….and his screams are so damn good. We shall see (or hear). Incidentally I can’t say I ever listen to Dreamhouse anymore when I spin Sunbather, I jump straight in at Irresistable – the second half of that album is the part that really hits the spot for me….Vertigo and The Pecan Tree are such a knockout.

    • lobster man

      You have a lot of will power. I’ve listened to this song about five times now…

      I’ve often wondered if Deafheaven really is black metal. The more I think about it, the more Im not sure. At this point they’re more than black metal. And there more than blackgaze too. They probably wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much hate if Anti or whoever wasn’t so invested in selling them as black metal. “Post rock with screams” might have been more grabbing anyway. Though they still are metal. Or maybe we can just call them “good music”.

      I was a little concerned with the cleans thing but ya know they haven’t missed yet so I’m just gonna have to trust them. They’ve used cleans before like on “Gifts for the Earth” and this track just not as the focal point. I’m guessing that screams are still going to be the main component.

      Also The Pecan Tree is very much my favorite from these guys

      • Black Antlers

        Just to be clear I don’t think Dreamhouse is a bad song, rather it sounds exactly like I expected them to, whereas Vertigo and Pecan took it to a whole other level. The build up on Vertigo is masterful and I love the way Kerry breaks out an 80’s hair metal guitar solo at the 4:30 mark just before the whole song bursts into frantic blast beat gallop. I agree that they wouldn’t have nearly got as much shit if the label hadn’t aggressively marketed them as BM, rather BM is just an element of their sound, although George and Kerry clearly know their underground stuff. I can vouch for this having chatted to George about favourite BM bands during their 2011 Roads to Judah tour – he was manning the merch table at the time, prior to playing a blistering, no frills, near psychotic set to about 50 raptuous punters at my local pub.

        • Blochead4real

          I know you’ve probably seen my say this on other platforms but, fuck it, here it comes again. I’m not entirely convinced I don’t like the debut album, “Jord” by MØL more than either Deafheaven album. Absolutely not blocerbole. It’s a fucking great album and deserves your time.

    • DFrye

      They’re a great band and that is enough for me. George is on record as saying Ihsahn is his favorite black metal vocalist and that Emperor is their number one metal influence so to not mention black metal would be more disingenuous than to label these guys as capital BM Black Metal. Honestly, I just don’t care what anything is called. The sounds that hit my ears are all that matters.

      • Black Antlers

        Oh, totally agreed, it is an important part of their sound. I was trying to express how it irritates me when they get called out for not being ‘trve BM’ when they’ve never aspired to be that – as usual I rambled on far to much and lost my point hahaha. And you’re quite right about Emperor, we chatted about In The Nightside Eclipse amongst others so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s expressed that in interview. Man, I love BM but I can’t stand all that trve/untrve pointlessness.