By Thomas Johnson, July 17 2018 —
Deafheaven’s discography — as a radical outlier in a staunchly traditional metal scene and the larger conversation of independent rock — has taken an unpredictable trajectory, but a sensible one if considered chronologically. Roads To Judah (2011) was the experiment, Sunbather (2013) was the breakthrough mission statement and New Bermuda (2015) was the requisite display of technical virtuosity. Though the band is often incorrectly attributed as the progenitors of black metal’s tryst with shoegaze, there’s no argument they played a crucial part in broadening the genre’s horizons sonically and commercially and their prestige as indie-subverts can’t be questioned.
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, the band’s fourth outing, feels like a reconciliation for the band that has been hailed as both metal’s greatest innovators and biggest posers. At times it would be a stretch to even refer to it as a metal album, as it’s their most obvious attempt at deconstructing metal’s tropes. Where before there might have been brief acoustic interludes between the crash of their primal guitar and drums, there are now full-length fuzzy pop songs in the vein of My Bloody Valentine. Where frontman George Clarke would have inarticulately shrieked his vocal chords blue in the past, there are now choirs chanting.
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is one of the most beautiful albums of the year, regardless of genre. If it’s too much to label it a metal album, you can instead call it as it is — immersive, cinematic and stunning.