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Deafheaven is a post-black metal band that is fairly recent on the wider scene, releasing this- their first official release- and a full-length debut just earlier this year. 'Libertine Dissolves' introduces Deafheaven as a band that should not meet unwelcome ears among fans of such other post-black metal acts as Fen, Agalloch, Wolves In The Throne Room, and a score of other bands that fuse the harshness of black metal with lighter atmosphere and even beauty in the more conventional sense. This two song EP shows Deafheaven delivering on both the abrasive, and lighter atmospheric fronts, and doing each quite well. Although the debut 'Roads To Judas' is a much more fulfilling experience, this short release is a fairly strong sampler for anyone looking to check out the band.
The music on 'Libertine Dissolves' begins as you may expect something in the black metal style to erupt; complete with black metal rasps, fast-picked guitar riffs and a grand sense of melancholy. This is woven in quite well with the lighter moments, which are fairly predictable by post-rock standards, but very pleasant to the ear. Deafheaven's greatest strength -as far as 'Libertine Dissolves' goes- is their innate ability to fuse the heavy and lighter moments together into cohesive compositions, which is sadly something that many bands who attempt it seem to overlook. The second track 'Daedalus' gets even better than the title track, with a nearly danceable rhythm and sense of optimism that screams shoegaze, or even post-punk to me. Powerful stuff.
While much black metal does tend to suffer (or benefit, depending on who you ask) from low fidelity production, Deafheaven's music hit me with a very gritty feel that took a second listen through to warm up on me. While it works very well with the more melodic moments of the music, the heavy sections here came through as more of an abrasive rumble than I may have cared for, but it is something that can be overlooked after the first listen.
Deafheaven is another band I can be excited about, and while 'Libertine Dissolves' is fairly rough around its corners, this and the debut have set a very steady foundation for the band to do great things with their music in the future.