Friday, May 4th, 2018

Deafheaven – Honeycomb

Now I’m not suggesting that we cover them in chocolate… but…


Jonathan Bogart: Oh, wow.

Nortey Dowuona: Listing, shaky guitar swings the heavy, rattling drums and nearly invisible bass around and around until they come up fight side, swinging wildly and heavily, growing more and more clumsy as they speed up. Then they drop their guard and fall, rushing back into the darkness as fast as they climbed out of it. Then they snatch up a rock in the cliff face and slide through a wormhole into a shinier, spinning guitar riff that spreads the claustrophobic hold the drums have had on the song.Then suddenly, the drums stop, the bass ducks, the guitar stands nakedly upfront, alone. Then the wormhole collapses in, slowing the heavy drums, pointing out the ducking, hiding bass as the guitar soars through, trailing the light. Then they break through, floating on clouds and opening up as the guitar twirls and dips, leading the drums to slow and the bass to come out, sliding on the cloud cover. They spin through the air, belly-flopping on clouds and drifting aimlessly, the colors of the sky becoming mover vividly blue, purple, green and brown as the sun rises and falls. Finally, as the sun falls and purple and brown color the sky, the drums fades away, the bass slowly dives into the dark rabbit warren and the guitar falls lazily onto a hammock, its work done. It sips a Ceres Lichi.

Tim de Reuse: Following four minutes of the usual Deafheaven rampage, we get seven minutes of inspirational mid-aughts twinkle. Deafheaven’s breakout album streamlined black metal by filtering it through a sunny post-rock haze to reach a wide audience, but here that sound has been further streamlined into a grandiose, aerodynamic nonexistence, adopting all the cadence worship of crescendocore without any of the crescendos. The most that can be said is that no single element of those bloated, meandering seven minutes merits much description at all.

Micha Cavaseno: The “Black Metal… but actually shoegaze (but actually post-rock!)!” routine of Deafheaven was initially one of the more refreshing little disruptions in metal for the last decade; whereas the generation before had the math-rock in a kvlt concealment of Weakling, this one had the seemingly caustic sense of uplift of this Bay Area unit. However, nothing in “Honeycomb” ever validates the sense of endlessness in which riff and beat get established one after another after another to no real purpose. The band have 3 or 4 songs here, wastefully amassed into a composition which holds no real compositional strength for all its length, and indulges their worst habits.

Iain Mew: I mean, at least Pentatonix keep their gimmicky, disconnected evolution pieces to under ten minutes.

Thomas Inskeep: I wish the vocals on this weren’t quite so “ARRRRRRRRRGH,” but Deafheaven’s brand of metal is almost more like superheavy shoegaze, and I’m good with that. 

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: I’ve always had some kind of quibble with American metal media calling Deafheaven “innovative” when their style of Blackgaze has been all about condensing the sonic elements and compositional approach of true pioneers like Alcest and Altar of Plagues, or even previous melodic black metal greats like Lifelover and Weakling; in a way they’re really the Drake of the genre. “Honeycomb” contains every single ingredient in their formula, now solidified as a tradition, and yes, the clean guitar-driven, post-rock meets-folk dreamscape of an outro elevates the track masterfully, but the build-up to it is never nearly as engaging. And this music is all about the build-up. 

Edward Okulicz: Not being familiar with Deafheaven, I was surprised at how gauzy and indistinct the sound of “Honeycomb” seemed. I was then at least slightly impressed at how each gauzy, indistinct section sounded quite distinct when run end to end. But the second half felt like the closest thing metal as a genre (or a set of genres) had to background music, as I successfully typed a work proposal while completely ignoring it at medium to high volume.

Reader average: [8] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Comments are closed.