Deafheaven/The Secret – London Borderline – Thursday 9th May 2013
Words by Gary Lukes
Photos by Antony Roberts
Outside, the sun may be busy flaring through its cloudy cover, but under the streets of London, The Secret are indignantly raining down their own particular brand of misery. Beastly at the best of times, the Italian’s acrimony can only have been amplified by events over the past twenty four hours. During which, events have seen them break their van, have their car stolen and suffer the unenviable fortune of losing a Celtic Frost shirt.
So it’s no surprise to see them grinding out their vitriol with added vehemence. Unfortunately, the torrents of filth fall upon the heads of a crowd that’s apparently too hip to move. It’s as if they’re choked into silence by the fumes of blackened hardcore being expelled by the likes of “Angus Dei” and the crooked lurch of “May God Damn Us All”. Even the ferocious pit-splitting stomp of “Weatherman” leaves the floor unstirred.
It’s been a rough couple of days, for which Marco Coslovich and company summon up a fierce brand of catharsis. Unfortunately, this is not mirrored by an audience clearly baying for the headliners. The Trieste four piece deserve a medal for getting through the day. Or at least a new Celtic Frost shirt.
In stark contrast to the monochromatic fury of the Italians, Deafheaven draw from a much warmer palette. The dank, subterranean confines of The Borderline awash with glowing, hazy melody as new track “Dream House“ hangs over the crowd and finally gets those noggins nodding. From the soothing opening to “Violet” to the raging passages of “Unrequited”, the San Franciscan’s main strength has always been their ability to wrap jagged black metal guitar lines in rich swathes of shoe-gazing melody.
It’s this musical mosaic that has drawn the ire of the black metal community and led to inevitable accusations of “hipster” black metal. But Deafheaven clearly give zero fucks for scene perception, even adorning their new album with a cover that’d turn Boris salmon with envy.
“Sunbather’s” title track is aired tonight, proving just how much the band have perfected fusing obsidian sheets of noise with more tender textures. There’s a certain amount of grace in Kerry McCoy’s riffing, and that’s only been accentuated in the new material, which not only sounds deeper but downright more beautiful.
Many in the crowd hold their eyes shut tight, submerged in the music as they rock softly on their heels. Vocalist George Clarke shows no such restraint as he parades stage-front, clutching and clawing at himself and purging his demons. It takes the fading notes of encore “Language Games” to break the reverie and send everyone home; sufficiently bathed.
You can check out the latest albums from both bands below. Deafheaven’s “Sunbather” was released by Deathwish Records on 12th June 2013. “Agnus Dei” by The Secret was released on 23rd October 2012 on Southern Lord Records.