Deafheaven - From the Kettle Onto the Coil [Digital Single] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


From the Kettle Onto the Coil [Digital Single] (2014)

Adult Swim

The Adult Swim singles series is on a roll this year, with great contributions by artists as diverse as Captain Murphy and Future to the more punk rock—centric Speedy Ortiz and Diarrhea Planet to heavier acts like Sleep and a collaboration between Mastodon and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. So who better for a spot in this unique and wonderful collection than the Internet's simultaneously most celebrated and despised metal band, Deafheaven?

The San Francisco—based group's first material since last year's highly acclaimed Sunbather is a little less, well... sunny, right down to the cover art. The bright pink hues that adorned their previous release have been replaced with a black, grey, and white picture that appears to represent some sort of skull. This mirrors the music perfectly, as "From the Kettle Onto the Coil" leans much more to the heavily to the Darkthrone side of Deafheaven's musical coin than the My Bloody Valentine side. In fact, for most of its runtime, it may be the most straightforward black metal song they've released to date.

With all the hype afforded to them, Deafheaven could have easily become the next Wolves in the Throne Room, expanding on their post rock influences losing their aggression. Fortunately for the listener, that is not the case. George Clarke's vocals here are perhaps harsher than ever before, and the musicians behind him are no less aggressive. The group launches into an instrumental section a little past two minutes into "From the Kettle Onto the Coil" that recalls Sons of Northern Darkness—era Immortal, before a straightforward rock riff leads into a surprisingly straightforward rock guitar solo. Somehow they find a way to make it all work.

As "From the Kettle Onto the Coil" winds down, the band finally utilize some of the post—rock and shoegaze elements that made them critical darlings last year, but in a much more subtle way. The track is also much shorter than the average Sunbather epic. This is a ferocious black metal track, first and foremost. If this is the direction Deafheaven will be taking in the future, whatever they release next could be a masterpiece.