“Great Mass of Color” by Deafheaven

Deafheaven’s latest single is a lovely evolution beyond their acclaimed “blackgaze” sound.

I went into Deafheaven’s “Great Mass of Color,” the first single from their upcoming Infinite Granite album, expecting more of their idiosyncratic blend of delicate, dreamy guitars and brutal, throat-shredding howls. So imagine my surprise, after bracing myself for more of George Clarke’s tortured screams, to hear actual singing.

Turns out, not only can Clarke scream with the best of them, but he also has a lovely singing voice that he uses to great effect on “Great Mass of Color,” which helps sell the impressionistic lyrics (“Half awake holding my ghost in the morning/Sunlight coming down the bend/Maroon sky on the send”). As a result, this might very well be the most accessible song that the band — who helped popularize the “blackgaze” genre with 2013’s Sunbather — has released to date.

By the time Clarke lets loose in the song’s final minute, with his bandmates churning right alongside him with crashing drums and turbulent guitars, it’s just icing on the cake.

Infinite Granite will be released on August 20, 2021 by Sargent House.

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