July 8, 2021

Deafheaven - "The Gnashing"

After announcing their new album last month, Deafheaven have shared the second single from their upcoming record.

In a new interview with Pitchfork, Deafheaven lead singer George Clarke said "We were joking the whole time about wanting this to be our Kid A, where we filter our own sound through a different medium—because I still think that that record sounds like them as much as this record still sounds like us." While the jury is still out on whether or not this will be as much of a landmark record for Deafheaven as Kid A was for Radiohead, one thing is clear. Deafheaven have never sounded quite like this and for some, it's unclear if that's a good thing. "The Gnashing" continues their softer vocal approach and shifts away from the intensity that comprised their past work. The melodic vocals are actually intelligible here and sound more like Davey Havok from AFI than the stylized screams of Deafheaven-past. The guitar work is just as impressive as ever and takes on more of an arena-rock vibe that is geared towards the masses rather than the pits of metal bars. This isn't a metal song and it wouldn't be hard to mistake this track for something by Hum or Nothing - two great bands that tackle the heaviness of shoegaze with grace. Working with a new producer, it's clear that the goals of the band have expanded and now they're looking way beyond their previous limits. Making drastic, artistic changes is never easy and can often cause rifts amongst fans - it's the classic predicament of staying a one-trick pony or changing things up and suffering the consequences that come with new sounds. As Deafheaven move more towards dream-pop and away from blast beats, it's unclear as to how fans may react. Regardless, their approach is still garnering some serious attention and having more rock bands creating seismic sounds with heavy blasts of guitar will always be welcome in my book.

Infinite Granite is out August 20 via Sargent House.

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