Deafheaven – Roads to Judah
(Deathwish Inc., 2011)
The San Francisco Muni Metro schedule (or lack thereof) has been known to cause fits of extreme rage among the city’s commuters, but instead of turning to vandalism or random acts of violence, George Clarke and Kerry McCoy channeled their fury into Roads to Judah, by far one of the best extreme releases this year. Call it black metal, call it post-rock with shoegaze/hardcore tendencies, call it hipster metal or call it the future, you can’t deny the intensity of this debut release. Building on the strength of last year’s demo (sent to a few of their favorite blogs), this full length exhibits a full 5-member Deafheaven shedding the screamo tendencies for a more atmospheric approach. For the life of me I could not relate this music to the city in which I so recently called home, but after reading the lyrics and spending more time with the album, I have arrived at an understanding. San Francisco is a city of excess, a city of extremes. The ugly is the reason it is beautiful and vice versa. Roads to Judah is a beautifully hideous piece of work, just like the Tenderloin neighborhood it was born in.