Always well known for their instrumentation and ability to craft frankly awe-inspiring production and harsh growls; Deafheaven now enters the ring not as a metallic and melodic slugfest, but instead as your new indie loves.
Opening with “Shellstar,” the atmospheric build seems graceful and spacious enough to allow breathing between the audience and Deafheaven.
As time marches on, guitars and synths are introduced to be more fitting for a picnic than any sense of mosh pit. “Nothing changes the condition, dormant sooted desertion” describes vocalist George Clark as performance becomes less rigid and more shapeless with time.
Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra are present for the guitars, vocals, and even some synthesizer work as a dueling two-headed monster of shoegaze potential. Chris Johnson is on the bass and backing vocals, giving some of the more rhythmically creative grooves and pushes heard from Deafheaven in a demanding, but lovingly missed sense of the word. Finally, there is Daniel Tracy on the percussion who not only commands the playing field but can subtly sneak into the backing as well.
Like on “In Blur” where the hi-hats are blistering and occupy much of the sparks for the track, but can become a backing piece of tom snaps ad rolls during breakdowns. Musically, Infinite Granite is Deafheaven’s most beautiful creation and without having the harsh vocalization to contrast the sound, the record is mostly an uplifting boost of beauty rather than crushing transitions.
Some tracks, “Villain” is a great example of how that ugliness of Deafheaven still exists, but is not the main progression that they want to protrude anymore. Instead, “Villain” is quick with its shouts into the void, illustrating a war within a time of peace.
Surprisingly, because the burning appears only on the track’s end, it still torches long enough to scar the audience and direct them into the pits for one last run. Clark describes, “He’s my own eclipsing my love, his rottweiler sermon. He’s my own driving the talons, my own villain rising.” As breaks in the vocalization appear, the performance from Deafheaven instrumentally is overwhelming as a rush to the head.
When Clark returns, he finishes the track by illustrating, “You’re not alarmed by this heady division? My own villain rising,” making the tracks previously feel less serious and draining.
While components of what made many love Deafheaven might no longer be the main selling point, the beauty remains and Infinite Granite is a showcase of instrumental prowess and clean vocalization. Above the mire from previous years, Infinite Granite is a progression toward a mature, but still intense direction.