In the current events department, Deafheaven, one of the metal’s most polarizing bands, has released new track “Black Brick.” Perhaps I’m being biased because I actually like Deafheaven, but this is a pretty hard track. Going as far as to say that “Black Brick” is their hardest track yet would be an inapplicable assessment but damnit, they’re trying really hard to get there. The cool part is that Deafheaven doesn’t sacrifice their identity, they just implement it in other fashions.
Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra have been jamming their Exodus records and it shows with the raw and thrashy opening. The riffs at the two-minute mark incite some nice headbanging, and as much as I enjoy Deafheaven I don’t recall headbanging to their songs. I’m about as much of a black metal expert as Deafheaven is a trve black metal band, but their sensitive (and sensible) inversion of black metal’s anti-cosmic riffing has reached Tipton/Downing and Hanneman/King levels of guitar duo mastery.
George Clarke’s vocals are right on point, and whether you like Deafheaven or not, Clarke has never shied away from being a metal vocalist and his ability to apply word salad concepts of beauty and isolation to extreme vocals continues to be one of Deafheaven’s most endearing traits. “Black Brick” isn’t a track that has a lot in the way of Deafheaven’s signature dreamy (and heart-rending) aural narratives, but the quintet still knows how to play with your emotions.
In spite of their unorthodox approach, Deafheaven claims ownership of their status as a metal band without compromising the technique that got them attention outside of the metal enclave. It would be juvenile to call this Deafheaven’s most metal track, but when compared to the band’s other metal-oriented tracks, “Black Brick” is a hell of a rager.