deafheaven are one of my favorite genre-bending black metal bands. Their debut album Roads To Judah made many of the Best of 2011 lists we published at this site, and I also included the song “Violet” in our list of 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Though I was sold on the band based on that album and their previous EP, Libertine Dissolves, I became an even more devoted fan after seeing them perform live at Neumo’s in Seattle about a year ago and talking with their charismatic frontman George Clarke both before and after that set.
When I saw the news that they had recorded a song for a forthcoming split release with another Bay Area black metal band, Bosse-de-Nage, I begged for the chance to hear the split, and my wish was granted.
deafheaven’s song is a cover of “Punk Rock” and “Cody”, the opening songs from the 1999 album Come On Die Young, by Scotland’s Mogwai. By coincidence, Andy Synn included this deafheaven track in a list of his favorite “unexpected” covers that we published only a few days ago.
Before diving into deafheaven’s take on the songs, I first listened to the Mogwai originals, with which I wasn’t familiar. “Punk Rock” is a drifting, dreamy, isolated guitar arpeggio that plays out over a sample from a speech that Iggy Pop made during a 1977 CBC interview. “Cody” is similarly slow and restrained, a beautiful, hypnotic, near-pop song with layered guitars, almost-hidden vocals, and a decidedly melancholy ambience. Continue reading »