San Francisco-based band Deafheaven has struck an impressive chart blow with its third album, New Bermuda, which arrived Oct. 2 on Anti- Records. The “dark gaze” act -- a description that its fans hotly debate -- debuted at No. 63 on the Billboard 200. In a commercial music world that’s dominated by pop princesses, hip-hop and bro country, denting the chart’s upper reaches is a notable achievement for a group that combines the fierce power of death and black metal with the gossamer vulnerability of shoegaze rock. Frontman George Clarke spoke with Billboard about the inspiration behind New Bermuda and what he thinks of the “dark gaze” moniker.
New Bermuda, which bowed at No. 63 on the Billboard 200 and No. 36 on the Top Album Sales chart, unites black and death metal with melodic, drifting passages. Why does that mix appeal to you?
We wanted things that were equally damning as they were uplifting. It always has been a goal not to be a linear band and to try and musically exemplify the range of feelings one person could have on one topic. A lot of times things can be equally frustrating or depressing as they can be something that you learn from or that’s even uplifting toward the end.