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One of the biggest surprises of 2010 for me was definitely the first Deafheaven demo. Even 'though they really aren't the first to play this style of modern Black Metal, in my humble opinion they are the first to do it in the right manner. Of course I enjoyed Two Hunters and Black Cascade by Wolves in the Throne Room, but those were still a kind of regular Black Metal albums, just with a little atmospheric touch and some clean passages. Roads to Judah seems to bring this whole genre to a whole new level, obviously more inspired by non-Black Metal related genres like screamo and post-rock, this records basically blows a whole lot of the Black Metal releases put out nowadays to tiny little pieces.
Compared to the demo, which was released less than a year before their debut album, very few things changed. The overall production improved a little bit, which actually wasn't a necessary thing to do, because the production of the demo was already perfect for this kind of music. It's still not overproduced 'though, which is something I was afraid of when this album was announced and especially when I read it would be released by Deathwish Records, a label normally releasing only screamo, metalcore and hardcore bands.
There is one change in sound I, as a post-rock devotee, really adore, this is the introduction of more clean guitars and more complex drum patterns. On the demo these clean parts were recorded using an acoustic guitar, I have absolutely nothing against acoustic guitars (oh, how I love all those folk albums coming out these years), but acoustic guitars and metal are still a somewhat doubtful marriage, even when you're playing music like Deafheaven does. But, good for me, they seem to have dumped those acoustic guitars in a nearby trashbin, set them on fire, or threw overboard in the Atlantic (yai, subtle Black Lips hint), and continued with the in metal naturalised electric instruments.
This is not only music for the extremely hip, this is just a fantastic metal record, mainly focussing on the atmosphere most of the Black Metal records are missing nowadays. There is just one little minus, the demo was good, the album great, but after another album or two this just might get a little boring. I just hope they will keep improving their sound, and especially keep experimenting with more influences, instruments, sounds and structures.
Originally posted at: http://amplifiedstrawberry.blogspot.com/