We had to wait less than a year to to see one of the most active underground bands nowadays. The San Francisco quartet Deafheaven, loved, hated and criticised by the media and public, is unique in style. Their look seems to be the one for a standard indie band, but their music radiates fury and anger like only proper Black Metal groups do.

Deafheaven pieces are more than just fast drums and painful screaming. Emotional melodies can be found in every song of their set list, all of them perfectly played by Kerry McCoy on the lead guitar. Their acclaimed Sunbather (Deathwish Inc. 2013) was considered one of the best releases from last year on acclaimed websites such as Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, which was quite surprising considering the style of music they play.

Tonight, it’s the second night the boys visit Manchester to present Sunbather, accompanied by the mysterious Chelsea Wolfe, who could be seen opening for Russian Circles a few months ago in the same venue. Gorilla is a bit delayed in the opening of the venue, creating a long queue outside. Metal, hardcore and rock supporters are waiting to enjoy, without a doubt, one of the most relevant extreme music gigs we could see in Manchester this year.

With almost all the lights off and with a scary soundtrack, the members of Chelsea Wolfe take the stage, without the vocalist. Chelsea, with a mysterious and witchy look appears a couple of minutes later, taking the microphone straight away and starting to play with her loop machine, creating a weird atmosphere with her multiple voices.

The setlist is focused on their most recent album Pain is Beauty so she just needs a simple background band, consisted in a set of drums, bass/synths, violin and the power of her voice.She plays 50 minutes of show, which can get boring if you are not used to this kind of music. In my opinion the music of Chelsea Wolfe can be more enjoyable as a soundtrack for a movie or just to listen it calmly at home, but on a stage, it can be a bit tiresome.

Very quick preparation for Deafheaven, and less than 15 minutes after the last tone of Chelsea Wolfe and her band, the San Francisco quartet make their appearance accompanied by a huge round of applause. Starting in the same way as Sunbather does, ‘Dream House’ is the first piece of the set. George Clarke (voice) in command, he is one of the most peculiar singers in the scene. His pose and mannerism controlling the crowd is unique. He loves to feel the touch of the people, so for that reason we see a lot of stage diving and head-to-head singing during the whole show.

Using the same interludes as in the LP, the endless songs follow one another. ‘Sunbather’ or ‘The Pecan Tree’ are some of the hits more loved by the fans, and a few circle pits and extreme headbangings can be seen in the crowd. They also decide to include a new song called ‘From the Kettle Onto the Coil’ to the setlist, with the same ingredients as their previous songs: an atmospheric beginning, crescendos and the final explosion with an aggressive rhythm and screams.

A 55 minutes show with only 5 songs, who finish with one of their most Black Metal pieces of the discography, ‘Unrequited’ from their first CD. And once again, same feeling as the first time I saw them.  In fact, probably better than the first time I went to one of their shows, because Deafheaven are still a very young band, growing and improving with every gig; a band that will certainly keep on impressing the public with their emotional and powerful performance.

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Bikendi Cadelo

Biken is a Spanish music blogger based in Manchester trying to discover the marvellous culture of the city and to get lost in its endless gigs agenda. By the age of 22 he parked his guitar and started to write about music instead of making it.