Deafheaven eschew convention once again, twisting and bending the metal genre into interesting new shapes on a heavy, yet accessible single.
On their new single, ‘Honeycomb’, Deafheaven cement their reputation as the boundary-bending mavericks of the metal scene. The song jettisons its listener through a multi-stage odyssey that explores every facet of the band’s sound to date, from punishing noise to blissed-out ambience. After the towering Sunbather and growling New Bermuda, Deafheaven are poised to produce another masterful reinvention of not just their own sound, but to once again set the benchmark for contemporary metal.
The song opens with eerie, reversed guitar shrills before plunging the listener headfirst into a dense black metal cacophony, the guitars of the song crunching and thrashing together, propelled forwards by Daniel Tracy’s relentless drumming. This introduction, similarly to the band’s previous album, is Deafheaven at their heaviest and least forgiving. The shoegaze elements of Sunbather are near-absent on this part of the track, its appeal rooted in its aggressive, chugging metal that vibrates through the skull like a jackhammer.
Although perhaps not as in tune with shoegaze convention, the band still astonishes in their ability to shift gears in an instant with fresh, experimental flourishes across ‘Honeycomb’s runtime. Around the 4-minute mark, we are treated to some dizzying, glitzy guitar work – Kerry McCoy barrelling his way through an assortment of Coheed and Cambria–esque riffs, alien in tone compared to the dirge-like introduction of the song but welcome in their quirkiness. You’re left forgetting where you’ve come from at nearly every stage of the song, as it seamlessly glides through Deafheaven’s personally curated musical spectrum. This is nowhere more apparent than when the band trails out into a blissful, rousing ending – a dreamy, spaced out passage that could almost be considered relaxing – more in the vein of Explosions In The Sky than Liturgy. This is where the emotional core of the song lies – vocalist George Clarke’s lyrics portraying a desire to be anywhere but where he is. “I’m reluctant to stay sad” he screeches – “life beyond is a field of flowers” – an acknowledgement of the music he creates being more than slightly at odds with feeling anywhere close to pleasant. Nevertheless, the song marches on, slowly winding down with shakers and sparkling riffs in tow.
Perhaps the strangest thing about ‘Honeycomb’ is how listenable it is. For an 11 minute long blackgaze song with its yowling vocals and jagged melodies, Honeycomb is a treat for the ears, with plenty of hooky guitar phrases to latch onto and a shimmering ending that soothes listeners after its aggressive start. It’s a great introduction to multiple genres, a song that doesn’t compromise on its niche appeal whilst remaining oddly listenable.
‘Honeycomb’ is out now via Anti- records