Black metal, Deafheaven and bands that sound similar

Get the latest from Beat

Black metal, Deafheaven and bands that sound similar


‘Post-black metal’, ‘blackgaze’, ‘whoopdie fuckin’ doo core’, whatever. Among a sea of imitators, when it’s done as well as Deafheaven do it, it’s really sick. In my own excited lead up to their fourth album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love this July, I realised that I’ve been listening to a few new albums that occupy sonically similar territory.

People had been telling me to check out Denmark’s møl for weeks before I finally did, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at how I fell in love within the first 30 seconds of their debut album Jord hitting my ears. Their self-proclaimed ‘shoegaze metal’ tag works, so long as you lean much harder on the ‘metal’ side of that. The band is quite obviously into Deafheaven and their French colleagues Alcest, yet harness a ferocity that extends beyond their influences. The harshness of their consistently piercing vocals pushes beyond, with unusually pointed instrumentation running parallel to their atmospheric and uplifting twister of melody. It’s a brutal yet life-affirming experience, and absolutely a rush of euphoric adrenaline to listen to.

Arson is the fourth record from Austrian duo Harakiri For The Sky. It’s getting harder for me to hear the difference between entirely programmed drums and very efficiently sound-replaced performances, but I can at least say that this is the best sounding effort they’ve had overall. The machine-like element of past records are absent, and there’s a fresh triumph to the band’s pain. A friend I recently shared the band with commented that it sounded like “black metal with melodic metalcore chords.” I hadn’t realised, and I suspect it’s entirely unintentional, but it’s true. Some of this shit could slot straight into a Killswitch Engage album if you took away the endlessly rolling nature, threw in some breakdowns, and replaced the tortured introspection with a more macho aggression.

At 11 albums in, Ukrainian band Drudkh is still yet to play a live show, and possesses a level of actual black metal credibility that the others in this column will never. Their ‘atmospheric black metal’ existed a long time before the idea of Deafheaven even existed – yet I strongly suspect that most Deafheaven fans would bust a nut/ovary over the poignantly timeless spot the sound has ended up at 16 years into their career. They Often See Dreams About The Spring feels ritualistic – a staggering wall of melody that is constantly crashing in on and consuming itself, before rising like a phoenix into gut-wrenching moments of repetition. It’s not that the album feels like it takes an eternity to listen to – it just feels like the sound of eternity itself.