For nearly its entire career, Deafheaven has rejected the notion that it is a metal band. Beginning with its 2011 debut, Road to Judah, the band was praised for its unusual combination of thrash, screamo and shoegaze—though it was often mislabeled as black metal. Its 2013 follow-up, Sunbather, signified a shift into poppier territory, though vocalist George Clarke’s signature guttural screams remained. As the band moved away from hardcore sounds, people struggled with what to label it, even inventing the descriptor “blackgaze” in a futile attempt to pin it down. With Deafheaven’s latest release, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, its sound is harder to classify than ever. Yet its live shows remain intense, eardrum-bursting affairs.
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