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Deafheaven: Sunbather

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Deafheaven: Sunbather

Old 07-09-13, 11:30 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

I figured from the forked cover art on the song I was listening to.
Old 07-09-13, 11:32 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Oh that's like the original church-burning Norwegian metal guy.
Old 07-09-13, 11:52 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by The Bus
Oh that's like the original church-burning Norwegian metal guy.
You forgot murdering Nazi as well. A charming fellow.
Old 07-10-13, 06:42 AM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Picked this up as a blind buy based on the strength of a couple reviews I'd read. Been through it three times and I'm not sure if I'm glad I bought it or wish that I'd listened to some samples first. The music is fantastic, but as others have mentioned, sweet Christ are the vocals terrible. It's like a spoiled child setting fire to something his classmates made because he's jealous of their talent.

I see a couple 'well, the music makes up for it, you just kind of have to ignore the horrible part' posts here, but does anyone actually enjoy vocals like this? The only reason I can imagine for including them is an intentional and heavy handed effort to make your music more inaccessible, so that the people who can listen through it feel like more of a special club.
Old 07-10-13, 10:13 AM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by maxfisher
I see a couple 'well, the music makes up for it, you just kind of have to ignore the horrible part' posts here, but does anyone actually enjoy vocals like this? The only reason I can imagine for including them is an intentional and heavy handed effort to make your music more inaccessible, so that the people who can listen through it feel like more of a special club.
How much black metal have you listened to? You're absolutely right, this is all about being a "member of a special club". Using this style of vocals is a deliberate signifier designed to align the band with the black metal scene.

Here's how I understand it: Metal's extremely tightly defined genres all have their unique narrow definitions. Black metal vocals are different from death metal vocals, for example. A choice of riff, drumming style or even haircut marks a band as this genre or that genre. Lots of bands play around with these signifiers, mixing them up, expanding on the extremely narrow definitions as a wink and a nod to the fans.

Deafheaven is doing exactly that, they're using all of the black metal signifiers (blast beats, rapid high end distorted arppegios, screaming rather than roaring vocals) but couching it in the language of shoegaze (Slowdive) or post rock (Explosions in the Sky). We're supposed like the music but, probably more importantly to the band, think this is clever. Metal is extremely nerdy this way.

As a result, I don't even really hear the vocals for what they are: some guy screaming in a whirlwind of noise. I hear it more as a badge the band is wearing: "Hey, we're black metal guys, we know the history. But look what we're doing with it! Aren't were smart boys!".
Old 07-10-13, 12:11 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

I think Hiro is reading too much in to it. But, then again, I'm not much of a metalhead, so what do I know about these things?

For me the appeal is the emotion, and the use of the vocals as another instrument. I don't think of the vocals as vocals, just another sound added in to the mix. I think it's really quite beautiful when all put together, especially with the interludes. It's all about the emotion. My parents think I'm crazy for liking a band like Sunn O))), but for me it's not so much about the presence of melody or how "nice" the song sounds, but the emotion and feeling it brings, which is really quite strong.
Old 07-10-13, 12:36 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by Hiro11
How much black metal have you listened to? You're absolutely right, this is all about being a "member of a special club". Using this style of vocals is a deliberate signifier designed to align the band with the black metal scene.
Thanks for the additional explanation. Admittedly, I've heard black metal here and there over the years, but have nothing more than a passing familiarity with it. I guess more power to people who enjoy or able to tune out the vocals, but it just hits my ear the same as if there were a subset of really talented bands that liked to incorporate kazoo into all their otherwise extremely talented music. It's not quite enough to ruin it for me, but it definitely detracts from my enjoyment.
Old 07-10-13, 12:51 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by TheDuke
I think Hiro is reading too much in to it. But, then again, I'm not much of a metalhead, so what do I know about these things?

For me the appeal is the emotion, and the use of the vocals as another instrument. I don't think of the vocals as vocals, just another sound added in to the mix. I think it's really quite beautiful when all put together, especially with the interludes. It's all about the emotion. My parents think I'm crazy for liking a band like Sunn O))), but for me it's not so much about the presence of melody or how "nice" the song sounds, but the emotion and feeling it brings, which is really quite strong.
Maybe it's because you're not a metalhead that it does something for you emotionally. For me, I just hear pretty weak sounding scream-o vocals. I am admittedly very critical of vocals, and 9 times out of 10 turn off sound clips once I hear the vocals aren't to my liking.

I listen to plenty of metal where there is little to no melody in the vocals. That is not a requirement for my enjoyment. I was told the other day Children of Bodom is black metal. I'm not sure I agree with that, but the vocals for CoB are fine with me. I think they suit the music very well, and they don't sound weak. If the screamed vocals on Sunbather were close to CoB in tonality, I'd like it a lot more.

I also like to have some intelligibility to extreme vocals. Otherwise the guy could just be screaming "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB WHOSE FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW" and you'd never know. If the vocals are more of an instrument here, why even have lyrics if there isn't some chance of the listener understanding them?

I'll give them credit for doing a mash-up of a couple genres you wouldn't expect to hear together, and maybe that's the allure it has for some people. I just don't think it's quite the success it's being made out to be.
Old 07-10-13, 12:53 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by maxfisher
Thanks for the additional explanation. Admittedly, I've heard black metal here and there over the years, but have nothing more than a passing familiarity with it. I guess more power to people who enjoy or able to tune out the vocals, but it just hits my ear the same as if there were a subset of really talented bands that liked to incorporate kazoo into all their otherwise extremely talented music. It's not quite enough to ruin it for me, but it definitely detracts from my enjoyment.
This is pretty much what I was saying before as well. You shouldn't have to tune out anything to enjoy the rest of it.

And I get that's not the point of this record - it's suppose to sound like this. And I really want to like it because there's some great instrumental stuff on it.

Last edited by bunkaroo; 07-10-13 at 01:05 PM.
Old 07-11-13, 10:41 AM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by bunkaroo
This is pretty much what I was saying before as well. You shouldn't have to tune out anything to enjoy the rest of it.

And I get that's not the point of this record - it's suppose to sound like this. And I really want to like it because there's some great instrumental stuff on it.
I'm listening to it now and I certainly get your point -- I don't mind harsh vocals but this is a bit too much scream-o for me too. I really like the music.
Old 07-11-13, 12:16 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

I also like to have some intelligibility to extreme vocals. Otherwise the guy could just be screaming "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB WHOSE FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW" and you'd never know. If the vocals are more of an instrument here, why even have lyrics if there isn't some chance of the listener understanding them?
This is a good point, especially considering if you do read the lyrics, they are phenomenal. I think so, at least. In that way I think it is a shame they are intelligible.
Old 07-11-13, 12:53 PM
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Re: Deafheaven: Sunbather

Originally Posted by TheDuke
This is a good point, especially considering if you do read the lyrics, they are phenomenal. I think so, at least. In that way I think it is a shame they are intelligible.
I may break down and check it out eventually. Maybe reading the lyrics would help.

It's like Mastodon - I really want to like that band, but every time I hear the one dude "sing", all I can picture is this guy who he sounds just like:


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