Deafheaven: Myth, enigma, challenging beast.

Equally praised as ridiculed, Deafheaven have forged their own path for the last eight years. When I first heard Deafheaven on Sunbather, it was a breath of fresh air.  The mixture of Shoegazing tones with Black Metal screaming is amazing.  They were blending sounds together to make a noise somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Agalloch, which is an incredibly difficult balancing act.  With each release, they take a leap that is not expected, but one that seems to make so much sense after the event.

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is their fourth studio album, following up from New Bermuda.

Deaf Heaven Ordinary Corrupt Human Love Review

Album cover for Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, released on ANTI- Records.

Recorded at 25th Studio Recordings, Oakland, California, Deafheaven produced the album once again with Jack Shirley.  Released via ANTI-, there are already hints that Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is a possible contender for the album of the year.   The praise being laid at their feet is huge.  It seems as if everyone is bending over backwards to sing hymns on bended knees.  However, is it deserved?

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is a long album, coming in just shy of sixty-two minutes.   Over the course of seven tracks, with guest appearances from Chelsea Wolfe, Nadia Kury, Ben Chisholm and Tom McElravey, Deafheaven have attempted to redefine themselves again.  It must be tiring to constantly attempt to deconstruct and reconstruct your own work.  I admire their determination. They aim for the sky and think big.


Deafheaven have set themselves a massive goal, have they achieved it?

To be honest, no. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is not pushing the boundaries and I don’t think that they could have achieved that with this album.  When you are creating extreme music, at some point you’ll reach a plateau.  Deafheaven has reached that moment with Ordinary Corrupt Human Love.  There are moments on here which sound amazing, such as lead single “Honeycomb” and “Night People” (featuring Chelsea Wolfe).  These are prime examples of this band at their best.  I also admire the lighter moments of Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, those islands of tranquility adding much-needed texture to their sound.  But more often than not, I found my attention drifting as this record was not engaging me.

Deafheaven 2018.

It could be really easy to sound like a butthole and denounce Deafheaven, but I’m not doing that.

With Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, Deafheaven reached a level where they cannot advance in the same way that they’ve done in the past.  It was going to happen at some point and Deafheaven are no different to any other band in that way.  But it’s not a poor or even average album, they’re too good to do that.  It’s just that they have set themselves such high watermarks in the past.  Ordinary Corrupt Human Love  just about reaches those same peaks, so it’s just an average release by a fantastic band.  I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end for them, but it might end up being the beginning of a change.