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My Top 5 Albums of 2013 – #5: Sunbather

Because of my extreme levels of procrastination and laziness over winter break, my longer analysis of this album in particular, and my night-owl tendencies starting to bite me in the ass, I’ve decided to make my Top 5  list a little different to make up for its lack of timeliness. For my top albums, I will provide a deeper analysis as to why the album is actually worth listening to, as opposed to saying, “It’s good, go cop it”, and I will publish a new one each day for the next five days. So now that we’re all on the same page, I give you #5 on my top albums list from 2013.

As I’ve spent the last few days trying to decide which album really deserves recognition in this spot, I listened to a lot of different albums that got press and made other top lists. Having said that, I didn’t want my list to ultimately be influenced by others’ opinions. To an extent, it feels like I’m in a lose-lose situation, because I’m either conforming to another’s opinion or not conforming just to say I’m not conforming. I thought about putting both Yeezus and Modern Vampires of the City in this spot, but honestly I didn’t think it did the list justice. Both Yeezus and Modern Vampires of the City are great albums, but Sunbather introduced me to a combination of sights and sounds I never thought I’d hear on the same album, and that’s why it’s here.

If you’ve already clicked to listen, you may be taken aback by the genre. At its core, yes, Deafheavan is screamo/death metal. With some of my favorite bands being metal bands, I’ve always been open to the more extreme sounds vocally speaking. I actually think Sunbather is a lot more accessible from this aspect because (from my listening experience) the mixing keeps the volume down on the vocals so they don’t dominate over the rest of the music.The guitars technically speaking are pretty standard for metal (i.e. rapid strumming), but the drums impressed me greatly. I couldn’t ever imagine playing at the frantic pace this guy is. The rock slide of double bass pedal and crash hits are obviously on time, and the fills in between are exceptional.

What impresses me most with Sunbather is how naturally the album is able to transition from metal to what is ridiculously softer music and back to metal throughout the album. Justin Vernon could record vocals over the guitar on “Irresistible” it’s so serene. The songs are structured so that every other track is a 10-minute metal tirade followed by a peaceful interlude. It just works, and no other metal band I’ve ever heard has ever been able to make such drastic changes in music (within an album no less) sound so good. There’s piano in here for God’s sake. When do you hear that on a metal album?!

Sunbather

I also have to give a shout out to their album cover. Every metal album cover I’ve seen before this one consists of dark imagery and vile content. I have been waiting a long time for a metal band to release an album with deceiving artwork, and this is the best example I have seen of such happening.

Thank you, Deafheavan, for showing that metal can coexist with other genres of music. You’ve done a solid for your metal in 2013 and many years to come. See you all tomorrow for #4.

2 replies on “My Top 5 Albums of 2013 – #5: Sunbather”

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