With their fifth studio album, Deafheaven have shifted away from the atmospheric black metal that influenced past material, embracing the shoegaze side of their sound. Most notably, vocalist George Clarke has adopted a clean-singing style.
Despite some initial shock from longtime fans, the band dispelled skepticism with a string of strong singles. There’s no denying Clarke’s new singing style still fits well within Deafheaven’s heavy soundscapes, even if it took some time for listeners to adjust.
To achieve the new sound, the band enlisted producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, best known as Beck’s longtime bassist and for his work with electronic-based pop artists such as M83, Paramore, and Metric. Deafheaven’s longtime engineer Jack Shirley remained behind the board and famed nine-time-Grammy-winning mixing engineer Darrell Thorp (Radiohead, Beck) added some final treatments.
Deafheaven were slated to tour in 2020 to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band, but instead recorded a live-in-studio album, 10 Years Gone, to tide fans over. Next year, the band will finally head out again for a North American trek. The 23-date outing kicks off February 22nd in Phoenix, Arizona, and wraps up on March 24th in Boise, Idaho, at the Treefort Music Festival. Get tickets via Ticketmaster.