Black metal, post-rock and shoegaze mixed together? Sure, why not! Especially when it’s done as good as this San Francisco-based outfit does it. Their previous album already showed moments of greatness but ultimately couldn’t deliver the goods. Too much going on, not focused enough. Opener “Dream House” however shows that these guys have experienced something of a growth spurt and it’s as good of an example as any of what you’re in for… blast beats, hypnotizing guitar riffs and George Clarke’s primitive screams. It’s nine minutes long and goes from brutal to cathartic to beautiful without ever losing focus. The way the closing arpeggios tie in to “Irresistible”, a three minutes long melancholy soundscape of nothing but piano and clean guitar, before plunging into the title track is nothing but breathtaking.
With “Sunbather”, Deafheaven have achieved something that most bands can only dream of. It’s a hard as nails album that is as deafening as it is beautiful and it pretty much transcends categorization. Metal fans will love it but might despise the pink cover. Post-rock fanatics will love the spiraling guitars but be held back at first by the blast beats. Yet three songs into “Sunbather”, I highly doubt anyone will be able to deny that they’re listening to one of the best albums of 2013 and most likely, a modern classic.