It’s near midnight and I’m driving down New Hampshire Route 111. I’m not headed anywhere of importance and have no real sense of urgency. Not another vehicle for miles and the sole sources of light are the moon and the occasional lonely lamppost. The accompaniment for this very calming dark drive is Deafheaven’s latest, Infinite Granite (Sargent House). May seem a bit moody or even scary to others, but this drive and soundtrack make for a wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here moment for me.
So, yeah, Deafheaven has scored another winning outing in their so far undefeated discography. I double checked all their releases prior to writing this up to make sure and thus far they haven’t slipped up. Remarkable considering that there are quite a few metal fans who have harbored resentment towards these Californians ever since Sunbather dropped nearly a decade ago and crashed every Black Metal forum. Also, remarkable considering that Infinite Granite attempts the great metal feat known as the musical departure.
With the exception of a few moments in ‘Villain’ and the second half of the crushing closer ‘Mombasa’ there is nary a black metal moment to be had here. This radical and successful move brings to mind other near flawless stylistic outliers like Cave In’s Jupiter, Soda Stereo’s Dynamo (look it up) and Celtic Frost’s Monotheist. Sure, some in the cheap seats are rejoicing that Deafheaven is no longer pretending to be a black metal band, but even to those fans I say Infinite Granite is worth checking out.
Also, worth noting here is that Deafheaven is very much still in the business of producing some lean music that never loses its drive. ‘Shellstar’ gets off the line and sets the tone for what’s to come with a deft combination of Shoegaze and Alternative sounds that recall the 1990s but never comes across as dated. That immediately segues into what must be the best single I’ve heard this year, ‘In Blur.’ What’s the status of Rock radio in this country anymore? Does it still exist? Because in a perfect world ‘In Blur’ would be a surefire hit on the airwaves or streaming services. And next thing you know ‘Great Mass of Color’ keeps it moving with splashes of acoustic guitars and synths not out of place on a New Order album. By the time the gentle instrumental number ‘Neptune Raining Diamonds’ passes you by you sit in wonder at what else Infinite Granite could have in store.
Will I catch some verbal shrapnel for defending Deafheaven’s track record? Sure, but I didn’t lie. Give Infinite Granite a try. I think you’ll like the drive.
Buy the album here: https://ffm.to/dfhvn-ig
9 / 10