Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (2018)


It seems illogical at this point to try and convince anyone about Deafheaven’s new album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. Since 2013’s Sunbather, Deafheaven have been the most divisive band in metal, riling the feathers of the genre’s die-hard fans while expanding the appeal of the genre. Is Deafheaven really metal? Are they hardcore enough? Or are they simply spoon-feeding the genre to the masses? At this point, Deafheaven don’t care anymore.

“You Without End” opens the album with a piano and poetry read by Nadia Kury. If that’s not a middle finger to metal purists, I don’t know what is. The song is beautiful, lush – words often used to describe the band’s sound. But with the exception of George Clarke’s growl, there’s very little metal influence. Like Sunbather, the album oscillates between the hardcore and the gentle melodies. Working again with producer Jack Shirley (Jeff Rosenstock, The Smith Street Band), the band clearly feel comfortable experimenting. The penultimate track “Night People” is a duet with musician Chelsea Wolfe and on “Near,” there’s nothing but clean vocals and pretty melody. This carries into “Glint” which spends its first three minutes in the same mellow scenery before diving into a more traditional Deafheaven.

There’s something here for everyone, which for many may be the biggest complaint. Single “Honeycomb” and the incredible “Canary Yellow” deliver for all the fans needing that aggressive kick. But even “Canary Yellow” ends with clean, gang vocals. Kerry McCoy, not content enough with the genres he’s melded, feel comfortable incoporating big, classic-sounding guitar solos. But more often than not, he opts for a cleaner sound, making the heavier numbers even more powerful when they arrive. This extra boost can also be attributed to drummer Daniel Tracy, knowing when to send the songs into another stratosphere. The period of time following New Bermuda was rough on Deafheaven and now, when they go all out, it sounds cathartic.

Each Deafheaven release comes with expectations and each time they go above and beyond, a fascinating quality for any band. While New Bermuda was an exceptional album, it felt like a reaction to all the hate that came with Sunbather, as if they felt they had something to prove to themselves. Here, they’ve made a sun-drenched California metal album and offer no apologies for it. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is Deafheaven doing what they want for themselves.