Since its October release, Deafheaven’s New Bermuda has been included in many major “Best Of” and “End of the Year” lists.
See what people are saying about the album below.
BEST METAL ALBUM // “There are few success stories as unexpected or deserved as Deafheaven’s crossover to mainstream audiences. Since they arrived with their 2011 debut, Roads to Judah — a self-serious, shoegaze-leaning middle finger held aloft in the general direction of the metal establishment — guitarist Kerry McCoy and vocalist George Clarke have been slowly turning black metal light. Where others drop like dead weight into the void of isolation and self-centeredness, Clarke and McCoy look out into the world on the wings of hang-glider guitar lines, and vocal squelches that feel more like the natural chaos of a storm cloud than the bitter discontentedness that has lined the genre’s history.
New Bermuda is a vast chasm, darker than their blissed breakthrough Sunbather, but it soars all the more transcendent because of it. The ten-minute masterwork “Luna” floats by on a series of guitar riffs that start like nocturnal emissions from R.E.M.’s deep slumber — sexy and otherworldly offerings from somewhere beyond the the alt-’80s grave. Clarke’s fixations aim toward hope (there’s not much of it), love (ditto), and the cosmic disappointment that comes at those previous realizations. But his brutalist, clipped vocals only aid the dreamy atmosphere — even when the whipping songs feel nightmarish, there’s a surreality that gives New Bermuda its optimistic float. Others have attempted, and likely will continue to attempt, to come for their place in the clouds above black metal’s more terrestrial realms, but New Bermuda’s further proof that no one can reach them.” -SPIN
BEST ALBUMS OF 2015 // “Like the Replacements, Deafheaven just make what comes out of them and they don’t ask why. Lyrically, lead bellower George Clarke fries his larynx despairing in classic antisocial ways (“My world closes its eyes to / Sex and laughter”) in addition to more paranoid, almost domestic maladies (“Confined to a house that never remains clean”). But sonically, New Bermuda is black metal’s very own version of the ‘Mats’ Let It Be, as unexpectedly jangly as it is isometrically fearsome, and a little bit country. “ - SPIN
“In 2013, experimental black metal band Deafheaven scored big with Sunbather, which juxtaposed savage blastbeats, blur-of-noise guitars and glass-gargling vocals with effects-laden shoegazer textures. With their third album, New Bermuda, they expand their sonic spectrum in both extremes. Bleak, desperate and at times suffocating, the songs are peppered with the rapid chugs and tumbling beats of Slayer and the multifaceted guitar work of early Metallica. At the same time, Deafheaven incorporate their lengthy compositions with lazy, loping guitar lines reminiscent of “Luna” and melancholy reveries redolent of the Cure and Red House Painters. But no matter how often or abruptly Deafheaven shift gears, each passage flows into the next, giving New Bermuda the type of cinematic majesty that inspires both reflective beard scratching and high-velocity headbanging.“ - Rolling Stone
BEST METAL ALBUM OF 2015 (#1) // Somehow, the Los Angeles band made an album that’s even better than their classic-seeming Sunbather. New Bermuda’s heavy parts are heavier, the quiet moments prettier, the push and pull of its overall sequencing perfect. It’s the first proper full-length recording from a lineup that’s been touring together for the past couple of years, and they really gel here, each player striving to reach their limit. The album is moving, romantic, and powerful, and sounds great in a large room or when you’re just lost in your own head. - Pitchfork
50 BEST ALBUMS OF 2015 // “New Bermuda’s five songs are howled tales of sickness and health, alternating stories of lost ambition with frantic fever dreams. The gut-wrenching noise that spills forth from lead singer’s George Clarke’s throat transcends its tone of shrieking menace, his lines filled with unsettlingly beautiful imagery: man’s passion being carried off "by some lonely driver in a line of fluorescent light,” humanity’s “ugliness stretching toward the chandelier.” But Deafheaven don’t just rattle off romanticist tropes, and the narrative power of New Bermuda has a strength that’s independent of its lyrics. They illustrate and expound upon the words with huge shifts in dynamic range, from the sublime crescendoes at the heart of “Luna” or cross-genre experiments like the post-rock meeting gritty thrash on “Baby Blue”. The result is a crushing, concise, and unexpectedly celebratory journey, the sweet, molten earth to Sunbather’s ghostly air.” - Pitchfork
From its eloquent, tortured narratives to its numerous stylistic experiments, every square inch of New Bermuda brims with suspenseful, sublime soundscapes that retain their awesome might no matter how many times you listen. - Zoe Camp
New Bermuda is Deafheaven’s most metal record yet, and not just because of its darker cover, or the fact that Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra throw in some serious mosh riffs on “Baby Blue” and “Come Back”. This is metal modernized, metal that understands it’s healthy to be vulnerable, that exposure can strengthen the core ethos of integrity against all odds. Frontman George Clarke uses his power to draw you in and bond in a way that you and him only comprehend, a classic metal sort of bonding without trampling on the graves of the ‘80s. The seed they planted way back in 2011 has finally sprouted into the fully formed beast it was destined to be. - Andy O’Connor
TOP METAL ALBUMS OF 2015 // “Where Deafheaven could have very easily ridden into this year upon the coattails of their massive 2013 success, Sunbather, they instead presented its antithesis. Rougher around the edges and more existential than wishful, New Bermuda is Deafheaven maintaining their peak form, fearlessly exploring new urban terrains lyrically from the inside looking outwards and sonically presenting a much heavier idea of themselves. The result is a welcome and thought-provoking interpretation and thankfully not just Sunbather 2.” - Consequence of Sound
TOP ALBUMS OF 2015 // “Deafheaven keep getting mentioned in lists of best metal bands for people who don’t like metal, but New Bermuda proves that the San Francisco outfit are in it to expand the genre, not reach outside of it. Many non-listeners assume that the metal world is entirely driven by darkness, all grit, grime, and sludge. Sunbather was such a crossover because it used its post-metal and shoegaze tendencies to bring out some of the prettier shades of black in the genre’s palette, gloriously soaring through the sky. There’s some more of that soupy quality to the follow-up, but there’s as much swampy depth here as there is ethereal beauty.” - Consequence of Sound
BEST ALBUMS OF 2015 // “Like metal’s best-ever albums — from Master Of Reality to Appetite For Destruction to Blackwater Park to Marrow Of The Spirit — New Bermuda embraces the genre’s primary elements while expanding beyond them as though they were merely dollops of paint on a palette rather than lines in which to color. New Bermuda is not paying tribute to anyone, not seeking any particular approval. It is a distinct, decisive, masterful work of art. It doesn’t exist to be admired, however; it exists to elevate you, to astonish you, to envelop you. For Deafheaven, New Bermuda is a triumph. For you, though, New Bermuda is a gift.” - Stereogum
BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2015 // “There aren’t many albums in the world that I love as much as this one. I treasure this thing. Just knowing that I have it with me all the time, on my phone and in my life, leaves me with this unreasonable feeling of solace and satisfaction.” - Stereogum
JEREMY ULREY’S TOP ALBUM OF 2015 // “Metal fans as a whole could stand to get a little less dogmatic about what should and shouldn’t qualify as “true” metal or not, but unlike sophomore LP Sunbather there isn’t much handwringing to be had in that regard with Deafheaven’s latest, New Bermuda. Sure, the shoegaze affectations are still there, but this time they work more in service of the band’s unorthodox take on black metal. I’ve never entirely understand why shoegaze wasn’t an adequate analogue to traditional black metal’s atmospheric tendencies, but either way Deafheaven have deftly sidestepped any intimation that their current effort isn’t emphatically metal, even if it doesn’t happen to be the kind that suits you. For those of us with the ears and open mind to appreciate this shit, however, the only qualm about New Bermuda’s inclusion is the predictable inevitability that we’re repping an album that everyone else is likely to slot highly as well. Fuck it. They’ve earned it.” - Metal Injection
GREG KENNELTY’S TOP 15 ALBUMS OF 2015 // “Coming off the heels of Sunbather, and given the interviews where the band’s members talked about its next record being much darker, I expected Sunbather II: 2evil4u. Instead, I got a record that genuinely feels like the sounds of falling apart and finding yourself again. New Bermuda relies less on a wall of sound and more on individual parts sitting in just the right places in the mix, giving the record a huge, spacey sound. Extraneous instrumentation is just as present as ever, with church bells, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, field recordings, timpanis, but they feel less like sideshow features and more a part of the bigger, bleaker picture.” - Metal Injection
DANIEL CORDOVA’S TOP 15 METAL ALBUMS OF 2015 // “I honestly tried to ignore this record initially. Sunbather was good, but it didn’t totally have me in love with the band like everyone else seemed to be. New Bermuda has more straight up metal which I appreciate, however it also has equal parts indie loveliness. As a fan of both pretty indie and post/atmospheric black metal, it became impossible not to fall for this one.” - Metal Injection
“New Bermuda balances on a razor’s edge separating heavenly beauty and hellish darkness. Based in Los Angeles but formed in San Francisco, the quintet built an extreme five-song album whose shortest track exceeds eight minutes. Sheets of guitar recall the shimmering distortion of My Bloody Valentine’s noisy Brit-pop, while double bass-kick drums and vocalist George Clarke’s guttural grunts suggest Norwegian black metal. Harsh, yes, but also a long overdue metallic construct forged for a new era.” - LA Times
BEST METAL ALBUM OF 2015 // “It seemed impossible. Deafheaven’s 2013 album Sunbather was such a grand achievement—a defining statement—that surpassing it simply wouldn’t happen. At least not so soon. And yet that’s exactly what the Bay Area black metal group did with their third album, New Bermuda. On some level, it’s an album that continues what they started with its predecessor, its 47 minutes comprising an emotionally taxing mixture of black metal and shoegaze (and post-rock and screamo…) that no other band has balanced so nimbly and so elegantly. But New Bermuda is also a great step forward for Deafheaven, whose compositions have grown tighter, and whose extremes have been pushed even farther this time around.” - Treblezine
BEST ALBUMS OF 2015 // “New Bermuda is littered with moments that feel revelatory: The triumphant riff that erupts three minutes into “Brought to the Water”; the dreamy post-punk chug that opens “Gifts for the Earth”; the thrash-metal gallop that begins “Luna”; the breathtaking, slide-driven outro to “Come Back.” It’s almost like bearing witness to the existence of magic before your very ears. But really, that would sell short the labor and vision that goes into an album such as this. Deafheaven understand the nuances and intricacies of composition intimately, each climax arriving at the moment when it’s needed most, and every comedown happening just as the last ounce of cathartic energy is spent.” - Treblezine
“Ever since Deafheaven broke out with 2013’s excellent Sunbather, music fans and critics have devoted an enormous amount of time to arguing about whether the San Francisco five-piece qualifies as a metal band or not. Deafheaven’s newest offering New Bermuda will only add fuel to the fire. The album contains some of Deafheaven’s most traditionally metal riffs (such as the Slayer-esque opening riff to “Brought to the Water”) but also some uncharacteristically soft material (like the calming, acoustic guitar-laden outro of “Gifts for the Earth”). But who really cares if Deafheaven is a metal outfit? Any band this kick-ass deserves attention, no matter what genre it plays.” - The Oberlin Review
“Since the release of their polarizing 2013 album Sunbather, Deafheaven have relocated to Los Angeles from the Bay Area and on New Bermuda, doubled-down on their majestic blend of blistering black metal and gorgeous shoegaze, a combination that enraged some closed-minded metalheads and endeared them to those with more adventurous ears. The balance of darkness (George Clarke’s guttural shrieks and grunts) and light (Kerry McCoy’s soaring guitar solos) have cemented Deafheaven as a truly special act in the heavy metal genre.” - LA Weekly
“Black and beautiful, shrill and shimmering, tortured and confident, New Bermuda is 46 minutes of shattered glass as well as the cold comfort of rain against a windshield. Excruciatingly harsh vocals are shades of the message conveyed, just as guitars often shift from loud to soft, swirl into beautiful curls and howl back into ear-wrenching roars. New Bermuda is more consistent, more refined and spreads the brilliance as well as the burn across all five of its tracks. Black metal’s bitter elements are muted but present, yet it’s the grandeur of the album that frames George Clarke’s lyrics about disappointment and disenchantment. No devils are worshiped here except for those that reside within.” - About.com
“With only five songs, “New Bermuda” clocks in at just over 45 minutes but covers nearly twice as much ground as that short runtime would lead you to believe. Highlights “Luna” and “Come Back” burn so brightly they both inevitably burst into a glistening smolder of ashes dancing in the air like drunken fireflies. It’s a musical juxtaposition rarely displayed by any band, and as of right now, nobody does it better than Deafheaven.” - News OK
“If the more lush and gorgeous passages of the astonishing Sunbather gave a clue that Deafheaven would eventually abandon the metal tip, New Bermuda was proof that we had it the wrong way round. Calm moments were still scattered amongst the storm on the group’s new album (the mid-section of “Brought On The Water,” the lovely second half of “Come Back,” etc.), but an even more intense ferocity could be found at its core. The drumming was relentless, George Clarke’s voice harsher, and guitarist Kerry McCoy brought much thrashier elements into the mix to give the album some real punch.
The result? A worthy successor to one of the decade’s most unlikely breakthrough albums, a middle finger to the “Are they even metal?” crowd, and further evidence that although they might not be the only great band creating this sort of music (Bosse-De-Nage and Vattnet Viskar both released superb albums this year), Deafheaven is the biggest, a band attracting all comers to music they might never have approached before. They remain trailblazers.” - LA Music Blog
“Though bands have been routinely fusing metal aesthetics with shoegaze dynamics and post-rock’s larger-than-life scope for decades, Deafheaven’s 2013 album, Sunbather, won considerable acclaim for how seamlessly it blended the three, simultaneously becoming the most lauded and despised metal album in recent memory upon its release, notably drawing the ire of both the Bay Area DIY scene—which had served as the group’s initial launching point—and the international metal community. New Bermuda finds Deafheaven as dynamic and wildly ambitious as ever, weaving gorgeous, almost pastoral instrumental passages in between some of the very heaviest music the band ever cut to tape, even as it wears its influences a bit too clearly on its sleeves, liberally cribbing from Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Sleep” for the opening guitar figure of “Come Back.” The end result, though, is a staggering masterpiece, one that’s quite possibly the finest American metal album since Neurosis’ Through Silver In Blood.” - Magnet Magazine
Best Song Reviews
“The longest entry on a record dominated by shape-shifting epics, the ten-minute “Luna” typifies Deafheaven’s devastating and gorgeous New Bermuda. Opening with teeth-gnashing guitar and blood-curdling screams, the track builds and swells, spiraling furiously within itself until it settles, about two-thirds of the way through, into a doleful intermission. Then, the crashing denouement; frontman George Clarke continues to sacrifice his throat with lyrics that are tough to make out unless you read along — except for one word, the source of his inner strife, parsable only because he’s howling it over and over: “suburbia.” Welcome to Bermuda.” - SPIN
“Luna” Staff Favorite Songs 2015 // “For the first time in what feels like a decade, albums meant more to me than singles this year. So many songs captured my imagination, but usually in the context of excellent tracks piling up into a transcendent whole. Even in that macro state of mind, certain micro moments seized my psyche … that breathless upward guitar spiral that bursts out of “Luna” for a few precious seconds before plunging back into hell.” - Stereogum
“The eight-plus minutes of “Brought to the Water”‘s blackgaze meets contemporary piano ballad rings in Deafheaven’s 2015 genre-bender release, New Bermuda. A turbulent metal intro fades into an emotional, brief, contemporary piano piece, sounding as natural as how autumn flows into winter. Simply arranged, roughly a third of “Brought to the Water” carries some of black metal’s core tenets forward: dissonant, raspy vocals and a bleak outlook courtesy George Clarke; loud, adynamic, distorted guitars; and Dan Tracy’s “d beat” blastbeat drums. The soundscape’s ideas flow subtly and logically. Sunbather, Deafheaven’s previous release, generated controversy and debate as it propelled the nascent genre to the forefront. Subsuming the caustic bleakness of black metal and post-rock with the distorted, dreamlike carriage of shoegaze, and the melodic appeal of pop, the innovative blackgaze is able to switch directions in an instant. The music presents a challenging, invigorating listen, especially for a fan of the many flavors of heavy metal. With New Bermuda, Deafheaven has proven that its follow-up effort is as equally strong as its breakout album. “Brought to the Water” has helped cement the band’s place as a genre forerunner, and as a creator to watch.” - Popmatters
TOP SONGS OF 2015 (Brought to the Water) // “New Bermuda’s opening track “Brought to the Water” opens with atmospheric fanfare, only to burst into a massive chug, as if to dramatically answer the question of whether Deafheaven would be able to live up to the album’s much-hyped predecessor Sunbather. That album had the more cynical among the metal community questioning if they were metal at all, much less black metal. While the black metal part is debatable in certain instances, they’ve transcended the debate entirely.” - Treblezine
TOP SONGS OF 2015 (Gifts for the Earth) // “Leave it to Deafheaven to feature prominent tambourine on one of the best black metal tracks of 2015. For a band that’s been passed off by more ‘kvlt’ metal listeners as a genre-mashing gimmick, the genre-bending quintet switch up their influences with an admirable frequency. But on “Gifts for the Earth,” they out do even themselves, launching into a pulsing, indie-rock inspired riff, with just a touch of blackened atmosphere. For a second, it feels as if a different band has taken over entirely, until George Clarke breaks in, his perfect, goblin-like vocals setting the tone for the rest of the song. Clarke, along with his band, then take us through their first ABAB song structure, narrating a peaceful, long-awaited death with relative calm before erupting into an explosive climax. The song’s true catharsis, though, comes at the end, with an Oasis-inspired outro that ends New Bermuda—a rather emotionally taxing record—with a feeling of morbid tranquility, echoed in Clarke’s parting words: Then further downward so that I can rest/ Cocooned by the heat of the ocean floor/ In the dark, my flesh to disintegrate into consumption for the earth.” - Treblezine