Blackgaze titans Deafheaven return with their fourth record Ordinary Corrupt Human Love which sees them incorporating more of their post-rock and dream pop influences, tapping into their softer side, which can be heard through the record radiating a much more positive energy. The record opens with “You Without End”, which is complete with a spoken word performance from actress Nadia Kury, accompanied by soft guitars and piano as well as field recordings of the breeze on the beach. Kury reads a story about Oakland as the track crescendos into one of George Clarke’s raw signature growls, with the end result almost being a perfect depiction of the album cover itself.
Lead single “Honeycomb” is a cathartic release of furious energy and a typical example of their trademark brand of atmospheric black metal which leads off into pure indie rock blissfulness with its chiming guitars. The album’s core “Canary Yellow” carries on this mood with its soothing Explosions in the Sky-influenced leads before launching into another burst of passionate growls and ending with a clean vocal chant. The dreamy “Near” serves as a kind of interlude from Clarke’s harsh growls, coming off almost as a Slowdive b-side, which wouldn’t have been out of place on Souvlaki. Singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe provides guest vocals for the epic and haunting “Night People”, which again contrasts again Clarke’s harsh vocals bringing another dimension to the band’s sound. The dynamic final track “Worthless Animal” is a glorious way to finish off the album, possibly being one of their greatest closers to date.
However while Ordinary Corrupt Human Love continues to break new ground for the band, the record will only enrage metal purists and won’t help to shake Deafheaven’s reputation as the go-to metal band for hipsters. The record shows that Deafheaven are in no need of their approval as they continue to excel in their own lane with one of the best heavy records of the year.