I’d say this album is a left turn for this band, but it kind of feels like this album is Deafheaven finally embracing who they actually are as a band. Infinite Granite sees the band finally becoming the post-rock shoegaze band that was always inside of them. The black metal sound is nowhere to be found on this album (well, maybe just a couple of nods here and there at the end of a couple of songs). The crunchy guitars have been completely replace with a clean sound. George Clarke’s distorted shrieks have been replaced by soft croons and whispers. The vocals are probably the most jarring aspect of this new direction.
As different as this album sounds on the surface, to me it’s not all that unexpected of a departure for the band. Like I said at the outset, I think Deafheaven has always been this band. That’s why they courted such controversy when they put out Sunbather with it’s glorious pink album cover. Purist could see the emo-esque shoegaze band lurking under the style of black metal these guys were peddling. Look, the Mayhem and tr00 black metal fans are going to be tsk-tsking and gloating about “I told you so” regarding this album. And, those guys were kind of right. But, honestly, the Mayhem fans were never listening to Deafheaven anyway. So, who gives a shit about them, right?
So, that being said, I don’t see this as a sell-out album. It just kind of feels like these guys were following the creative forces inside of them and this is where it led them. I have to say that I don’t really like this new direction as much as their past efforts. The dichotomy between the black metal foundation with shoegaze flourishes are kind of what made them a unique and dynamic band. By stripping away the harshness, there is just this sort of hippie fluff that is left. It’s not bad. It’s just not necessarily my cup of tea. There are a couple of decent songs and melodies on here, but it just doesn’t have that special something to make this a memorable experience overall.
High marks for the bravery in going this direction. But, not my favorite album by the band.
3 flip flops out of 5