Black Metal seems a strange addition to an already diverse - though admittedly “Indie Rock,” leaning heavily on the indie, here - festival like MidPoint. That there is an outlier the caliber and sonic intensity of Deafheaven making their inaugural appearance at Cincinnati’s premiere underground flannel-fest, though, is cause for celebration. Hair-raising, ear-testing celebration.
2013’s Sunbather is an album as monstrous as it is serene, atonal as it is melodic. It’s regular inclusion in best-of lists for the year, and it’s additional and, to me, somewhat inexplicable acceptance and even adoration by a sect of the Indie Rock Elite that normally scoffs at such musical endeavours has led to more than a few scratched heads. What they’ve proven, without really trying, is that even music as polarizing as the various forms of metal can be, it can still and will transcend genre barriers. Or in Deafheaven’s case, routinely ignore them.
In their latest offering to what I assume are Gods of Norse descent - a single released as part of Adult Swim’s Summer Singles Series - the band chose to highlight the more jarring, jagged aspects of their sound. Where with Sunbather, their penchant for melody mixed with a simmering-then-bursting-then-outright-onslaughting approach to their own brand of Black Metal and Hardcore gives way to a barking, angular, albeit still crisp and even bright approach to heavy songwriting. Whether or not it’s an indication of what’s to come is anyone’s guess. It’s safe to assume, however, that whatever it is they do next will be met with heightened expectations, as well as an increasingly large, rabid fanbase.
I think it’s safe to assume Cincinnati will bring it’s own rabid fanbase out for what is - without contest - the heaviest show of MidPoint. And since they were just in Cincinnati this past spring, as someone who has grown to love and appreciate the Cincinnati music scene, I hope this means they recognized what the city has to offer them. After all, we love bangin’ our heads, right?
Catch Deafheaven at The Taft Theatre Ballroom on Saturday!