Deafheaven is an American Blackgaze band formed in 2010. Originally based in San Francisco, the group began as a two-piece with singer George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, who recorded and self-released a demo album together. Following its release, Deafheaven recruited three new members and began to tour. Before the end of 2010, the band signed to Deathwish Inc. and later released their debut album Roads to Judah, in April 2011. They established a unique style blending black metal, shoegaze, and post-rock, among other influences.
Deafheaven's second album, Sunbather, was released in 2013 to wide critical acclaim, becoming one of the best reviewed albums of the year in the US. In 2015 the band followed up with New Bermuda and in 2018 with Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. Their 2021 fifth album, Infinite Granite, drastically reduced the presence of screamed vocals.
Deafheaven formed in February 2010 in San Francisco with vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, who previously performed in a grindcore band together. Clarke isn’t sure how he arrived on the name Deafheaven, though he is aware of its appearance in William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29. The two words ‘deaf’ and ‘heaven’ were combined as an homage to Slowdive.
Clarke and McCoy recorded their demo in April, 2010 at Atomic Garden Studios which was released both on cassette tape format in limited quantities and digitally. It featured four songs that combined black metal and post-rock. Originally, Deafheaven did not intend to release the material but they later sent it out to a few of their favorite blogs.
After the demo had been positively received, Clarke and McCoy recruited three additional musicians, bassist Derek Prine, guitarists Nick Bassett of the shoegaze bands Whirr and Nothing, and drummer Trevor Deschryver who responded to an ad on Craigslist to form a five-piece group and started playing their first shows on July, 2010.
Their debut full-length Roads to Judah was released by Deathwish Inc. on April 26, 2011. As early as September, 2011 Deafheaven announced they had begun writing new music for a potential split album, EP or full-length. At the time, McCoy described it as being "faster, darker, heavier and far more experimental" than their previous material. However in December, 2012 Clarke described their new material as "less melancholic and less centered around only black metal," but rather featuring a more "lush and rock-driven, even pop-driven sound at times."
Their third album titled Sunbather was written solely by founding members Clarke and McCoy. This was similar to the way the band's first demo was composed, and different from Roads to Judah, which was written as a five-piece band. The duo was also joined in the studio by new drummer Daniel Tracy, who "added his own drum style to already-constructed song skeletons." The title of the album reflects Clarke's idea of perfection. He stated that it's meant to represent "a wealthy, beautiful, perfect existence that is naturally unattainable and the struggles of having to deal with that reality because of your own faults, relationship troubles, family troubles, death, et cetera." Deafheaven entered the studio to record in January 2013 with Jack Shirley, and released the album on June 11, 2013 through Deathwish Inc.
Sunbather was critically acclaimed upon release. Metacritic rated the album 92/100, based on 18 reviews, and later declared it the best-reviewed major album of 2013. It was also Deafheaven's first release to chart on Billboard — it ranked at number 130 on the Billboard 200 and number 2 on the Top Heatseekers chart.
In addition to new drummer Daniel Tracy, who was a part of the band for the recording of Sunbather, the band recruited bassist Stephen Clark and guitarist Shiv Mehra for the 2013-2014 tours. Founding members Clarke and McCoy said previous band members parted ways due to difficulties with life on the road and earning little-to-no money.
In 2014, the band released the track "From the Kettle onto the Coil" as a free download for the cable television network Adult Swim's weekly singles series. Their third album, New Bermuda, was released on October 2, 2015, through the ANTI- record label, to critical acclaim.
The band started working on the follow up to New Bermuda in January 2018, when they announced they were in the studio working on a new album, scheduled for release later in the year. On April 17, 2018, the band released "Honeycomb", the lead single to their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. On June 12, 2018, a new track from the new album titled "Canary Yellow" was released.The album was released on July 13, 2018 through Anti- Records. It received widespread acclaim from critics.
Their music is described as “a dizzying hybrid of shoegaze shimmer, hardcore punk passion, emo vulnerability, and black metal intensity.” They have cited a wide range of musical influences, including, but not limited to: Morbid Angel, The Smiths, Burzum, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Orchid, Emperor and My Bloody Valentine.
George Clarke – lead vocals (2010–present)
Kerry McCoy – guitar (2010–present), bass (2010, 2012–2013)
Daniel Tracy – drums (2012–present)
Shiv Mehra – guitar, backing vocals, keyboards (2013–present)
Chris Johnson – bass, backing vocals (2017–present)
Nick Bassett – guitar (2010–2012)
Derek Prine – bass (2010–2012)
Trevor Deschryver – drums (2010–2011)
Korey Severson – drums (2011–2012)
Stephen Clark – bass (2013–2017
2010 - Demo (Remastered in 2012)
2011 - DW Live Series 08: Live at The Blacktop 01.15.11
2011 - Libertine Dissolves (single)
2011 - Roads to Judah
2012 - Deafheaven / Bosse-de-Nage (with Bosse-de-Nage)
2013 - Sunbather
2014 - From the Kettle onto the Coil
2015 - New Bermuda
2018 - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
2021 - Infinite Granite
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