On their recent sophomore album, Sunbather
(Deathwish Inc.), San Francisco’s Deafheaven
launches black metal out of its dungeonlike clubs and gray Arctic wastes and sends it screaming across a cloudless summer sky. On “Dream House,”
spindly tremolo picking and chest-rattling blastbeats piggyback on soaring postrock riffs that rocket toward the sun, while George Clarke’s larynx-searing shrieks reach desperately after them. Deafheaven (who recorded Sunbather
with Clarke, guitarist Kerry McCoy, and drummer Daniel Tracy but add bassist Stephen Clark and second guitarist Shiv Mehra onstage) bundle black metal up with warm shoegaze fuzz, cathartic bursts of emo, and angelic ambient loops, creating a thrilling, coherent whole—the music often glides gracefully across sharp segues, from roaring and frenzied to glacial and moody. Sunbather
is massive—its seven tracks total 60 minutes—and its longer cuts
have a reach as vast as the cosmos. They’re so mesmerizing I could easily spend more time listening to each one than to most entire albums. For more on Deafheaven, see Artist on Artist. —Leor Galil Marriages and Ormen Lange open.