It’s no secret to those who know me that Deafheaven’s New Bermuda was my pick for Album of the Year in 2015. Its massive riffs and lovely, often haunting, melodies resulted in the most beautiful metal album I’ve ever heard. I told many around me that I felt metal finally had its Ok Computer. New Bermuda elevates the craft of metal music into something more ethereal and far-reaching: a search for beauty amidst chaos.
I was thrilled to get the chance to see Deafheaven in a smaller, more intimate setting than they were performing in while supporting Anthrax and Lamb of God. Their headlining set at Ace of Cups proved to be a full thirty minutes longer than the shorter, supporting sets had been.
In the opening slot, Power Trip overcame their rather lackluster recordings to deliver an energetic, propulsive set. The music itself is cookie cutter heavy metal, but Power Trip possess an exuberance in their live performances that is infectious, if ultimately forgetful. They didn’t seem to truly comprehend the crowd they were playing to: their calls for a circle mosh pit fell on mostly deaf ears with the beard and PBR set.
Deafheaven, however, are a band who know exactly who they are playing for. Their soaring, elliptical soundscapes filled the venue with musical thunder. Singer George Clarke is a consummate performer, alternating between his piercing shrieks and literally conducting the crowd like an orchestral maestro. Everyone in the crowd, myself included, was held in rapt awe throughout the hour and a half set.
Although they’re only three albums into their career, Deafheaven have staked a claim as the future of metal. If they continue to deliver these ferocious, affecting live shows in between album releases, I think that claim will be proven accurate. See them live, any way you possibly can. (Rick Curnutte)