Deafheaven: New Bermuda

Metal innovators take a turn toward the conventional

Credit: Kristen Coffer

Deafheaven's head-turning 2013 breakthrough, Sunbather, cross-pollinated headbanging black-metal vitriol and spacey shoegazing in ways that made them seem like subversive iconoclasts. On their follow-up, though, they're out to prove that they're a true metal band, with a more generic sound built on screeched vocals and chugging riffs. There's some beauty to be found amid the bleakness — check the lyrical guitar solos of "Brought to the Water" and "Baby Blue," the Smashing Pumpkins-style strumming on "Gifts for the Earth," or the album's occasional Pink Floyd atmospherics. But New Bermuda's few epiphanies are surrounded by waters too rough for most listeners.