39 thoughts on “Nachtlieder – Lynx (2018)”

  1. Salustiano says:

    A lot of extreme metal is frankly stunted in its range of emotional expression. Extreme metal, often but with a few exceptions, deals with its negative emotions by becoming an antagonist, putting itself on the same side as the inconvenient aspects of reality that are beyond human control and beyond humanity itself. Through this, it has often found a certain transcendence by liberating itself from worldly ties. This being said, when DMU reacts negatively to a more human handling these emotions like is seen in a lot of “post-black metal” (quotes because whether or not it is actually black metal is irrelevant), I see two aspects to said negativity. On one hand, it can be said that extreme metal, whatever its approach to this end, does have a fundamental transcendental orientation that is lost if the music borrows too much from hardcore and indie and becomes too immediate, mundane, and complacently human. On the other hand, I detect perhaps a whiff of insecurity, an attempt to deny the reality that humanity is inherent in our existence by limiting the range of acceptable emotion. I think Wolves In The Throne Room can be looked to as an example of a band that found a good middle way.

    Post-metal is a genre that perhaps has under-performed its potential in an extreme metal context. However, outside of an extreme metal context, post-metal is its most promising child. Post-metal bands like Deafheaven (without question currently the most interesting band in metal, as much as DMU would like to deny this) utilize the structural and stylistic freedom of post-metal to create cathartic epics with incredible emotional potency and range – such a range that it can actually seem jarring if one is too used to the relative stuntedness in extreme metal. I see no reason why extreme metal can’t utilize the same freedoms to create more impactful works than it ever has before, provided its talents have the courage and vision to admit humanity without losing sight of extreme metal’s spiritual core that is beyond human.

    1. Misty Mountains says:

      ‘without question currently the most interesting band in metal …’ Why? What is it that makes them so interesting in your opinion? Using the major scale? Giving their albums funny little names like ‘ordinary corrupt human love’? You don’t have to leave the folds of extreme metal, in order to create cathartic epics. Post-metal and immanent themes won’t make extreme metal great again. Picking up where the forefathers left, studying the monumental works and meditating on their truths will awaken this slumbering giant.

      1. LordKrumb says:

        “Picking up where the forefathers left, studying the monumental works and meditating on their truths will awaken this slumbering giant.”

        …and studying what inspired those forefathers, then becoming naturally inspired in the same way instead of merely seeking to imitate their style. Their inspiration, more so than their musical works, is surely the most potent source of ideas for modern metal bands to seek out.

        1. Salustiano says:

          Let me know when adding more steps to being a retrograde copycat works out for the metal underground. I’m glad Emperor wasn’t studying Cream to try and copy Black Sabbath’s inspiration!

          1. LordKrumb says:

            I specifically emphasised “inspiration”, the scope of which extends far wider than mere musical influences.

      2. Salustiano says:

        Spoken like someone who is too much of a coward to actively listen to music or ideas that challenge their preconceptions. Deafheaven have always made music that is harmonically complex and used that complexity to express a great deal of emotional depth. You reduce this to “using the major scale” because major tonality is what you’re least used to hearing, not because that’s actually what Deafheaven usually does. When they do use major tonality, it’s done to great effect. I also believe that cathartic epics can and have been made using extreme metal. The problem is, extreme metal isn’t right now, but Deafheaven is. This speaks for itself – there are hundreds, if not thousands of bands today that are devoted to the great music of yesterday and as a result have found themselves limited and their music rehashed and stunted because they’re working with someone else’s style and emotional context. Deafheaven embraces freedom and are achieving an increasing degree of greatness.

        1. Erik the Red says:

          So pull us through a song analysis, as has been done with Sacramentum, et al. and show us this.

          1. Salustiano says:

            A fair request, I will do this after the article I am currently working on.

            1. Thewaters says:

              I look forward to reading it!!

        2. LordKrumb says:

          You haven’t adequately answered the question put to you by Misty Mountains:


          Furthermore, can you describe what metal qualities Deafheaven’s music has?

          1. LordKrumb says:

            The question I was referring to (which somehow got filtered out of my reply) is:

            ‘without question currently the most interesting band in metal …’ Why? What is it that makes them so interesting in your opinion?

            1. Salustiano says:

              Deafheaven have many elements that make them musically above average – well-defined harmonic motion that covers a broad range of multifaceted emotion over the course of long form structures is a lot of what makes the music effective. A strong melodic sense helps too. What makes them currently the most interesting band in metal is three things: they are really good at what they do, are increasingly stylistically original and probably have room for additional growth. Indie metal isn’t new, indie metal that is unabashedly so and seamlessly integrated so that the indie element synergizes with metal rather than detracting from or overshadowing it is. I honestly thought that the band had perhaps ran its course, but Ordinary Corrupt Human Love surprised me by being on par with Sunbather while moving in a new direction stylistically. For that reason their next move deserves anticipation.

              1. LordKrumb says:

                “What makes them currently the most interesting band in metal is three things: they are really good at what they do, are increasingly stylistically original and probably have room for additional growth. ”

                None of those qualities (“really good” / “stylistically original” / “room for growth”) are characteristics unique to metal. To be the “most interesting band in metal” requires those qualities and fundamental characteristics of metal.

                “Indie metal isn’t new, indie metal that is unabashedly so and seamlessly integrated so that the indie element synergizes with metal rather than detracting from or overshadowing it is.”

                “Indie metal” is a misnomer. At its core, it’s post-rock with some metal styling. It is not a form of metal, it’s a form of indie/post-rock because it shares its fundamental properties (culture, inspiration, themes, composition) with indie/post-rock, not metal; it merely shares a few superficial properties with metal which only serve to graft some ‘edginess’ onto the post-rock form.

                indie/post-rock metal = vegan bacon

    2. Marc Defranco says:

      I’ll be honest I do not really understand your argument. Metal has always been largely adversarial but I don’t see how that limits the emotions one can feel from the music. When I hear Burzum I don’t just hear sadness or anger. You may only sense a few emotions but that does not mean everyone does. For post metal or whatever it is, since a few bands borrow from other genres and go more with the grain they deserve recognition? Is that your argument? Because if you haven’t noticed there are plenty of people not interested in extreme metal that enjoy/recognize the bands you listed. There are also plenty of extreme metal bands with jazz and other styles of music mixed in that are recognized by extreme metal fans.

      And for me extreme metal has always had a sense of humanity. Whether it’s the lyrics found in Napalm Death or the human spirit of adventure/wonder expressed through Summoning. Plenty of black metal bands are influenced by their home country’s culture with poetry and art. What is more human than culture? The argument could be made that Deafheaven are too grounded in reality and that’s one reason why they aren’t highly recognized by many extreme metal fans. They do not transcend. I don’t feel complex emotions when listening to Deafheaven. I do though when listening to Darkthrone or Ildjarn. Humanity’s attachment to the mysterious, the struggle for survival, the calm feelings only obtained through night. I have no problem with extreme metal bands borrowing from post metal but the bands you have listed to me do not seem strong candidates as to why they should utilize the sound. Btw there’s more interesting & boundary pushing bands like Lugubrum

      1. Salustiano says:

        I am not criticizing the classics, but they are exceptions to the rule. Deafheaven sticks out today because there are no exceptions to the rule at all in the modern underground metal scene. It is in an abysmal state, and when a band achieves any degree of originality and greatness, the metal scene throws a fit because it doesn’t sound like the albums they are used to or because one of the musicians wore a flannel shirt or whatever pointless surface level bullshit hessians zoom into that triggers their insecurities.

        1. Thewaters says:

          Is Defhaven more compelling than say, Altars of Madness in your opinion?

          1. Salustiano says:

            Maybe not more, but I might say “as” if we’re strictly talking about Deafheaven’s best material on Sunbather and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. I personally would use Blessed Are The Sick rather than Altars as the MA benchline though. Both albums suffer from the inclusion of the less mature Abominations of Desolation material and lingering speed metalisms, but the new material on Blessed are the Sick is more stylistically original and structurally sublime. Morbid Angel is to death metal what Bathory is to black metal – unquestionably great, but perhaps more important as a trailblazer than as peak of the genre. Death metal’s greatest achievements are At the Gates, Immolation, Incantation, Gorguts, Demilich and Suffocation, imo. I revisit these bands (and a range of other second tier classics) a lot more than I revisit Morbid Angel if I am being really honest.

        2. Marc Defranco says:

          Yes there are many metal fans who are more concerned with clothing and what not but there are also plenty that criticize the actual music as well. I don’t even consider Deafheaven to be metal. They seem to have more in common with bands like Loma Prieta than anything. Also as someone else stated prior Alcest already created somewhat similar albums prior. I don’t care if you like Deafheaven but to parade them around like they’re an unrecognized classic seems rediculous. There are exceptions to the rule within underground metal but I’d argue that there’s not many.

    3. hblaze66 says:

      I listened to 2 random songs out of “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love” and I can’t understand why anybody would categorize it as Metal. They can’t be the most interesting band in metal because they belong to another genre and use a different form of expression.

  2. Thewaters says:

    This seems to be a very eloquent way of saying you want extreme metal to be more emotional. The problem with your stance is that the emotional potency you describe in the works of Deafhave are the equivalent of candy for the brain as opposed to the emotional expression found in works such as In the Nightside Eclipse or The Red in the Sky is ours which proposes something that includes the human emotional elements but also trascends it. These works are emotionally poignant, but in a deeper and more profound way than any of the works from the post metal catalogue.

    1. Salustiano says:

      I’ve probably listened to both those albums at least a hundreds times more than you have, because I understand how great they are. Your opinion on Deafheaven is boring and unsubstantiated.

      1. Misty Mountains says:

        “I’ve probably listened to both those albums at least a hundreds times more than you have, because I understand how great they are.” No, you didn’t. And I’m pretty sure you don’t understand how great they are, because if that would be the case, you wouldn’t call Deafheaven the most interesting thing in Metal right now. This “In the Nightside Eclipse/Det som engang var are cool and everything, but hey, look at Deafheaven! They have the guts to incorporate the major scale in their compositions and are a Metal band that doesn’t sing about gore and frostbitten landscapes” is a pretty hipsterish argument. Deafheaven won’t save Heavy Metal, stop dreaming. Alcest did the same bullshit a decade ago.

        1. Salustiano says:

          TRITSIO is the news of almost three decades ago. ITNE is in its mid 20s. My word choice was deliberate – Deafheaven is the most interesting metal band today, right this minute. They are rising, not declining, and are probably the only band currently achieving any real greatness. I’m not arguing that they are the most interesting band ever or that their albums are the best ever. I have other opinions of what the greatest metal albums ever are, and TRITSIO and ITNE are among them, but Hvis lyset tar oss tops the list. I will still probably listen to Deafheaven in 10 years. I can’t say that any other currently active band in the extreme metal scene is likely to put out an album that I will. They were either mediocre from inception or have become mediocre over time. Deafheaven’s competition, according to DMU, is bands like Sammath and Serpent Ascending. Compared to Deafheaven, these bands are emotionally stunted and are frankly mediocre even though their albums are enjoyable. The modern metal underground worships previous greatness to the point that they miss the fact that those albums were great because those artists embraced musical and artistic freedoms that allowed them to explode with passion that was entirely their own. Coincidentally, Deafheaven has done the same, and as a result they stand out against today’s crowd. An album like Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is infinitely more interesting and compelling than a Godless Arrogance or an Ananku. Deafheaven’s strength isn’t that they frame some songs around major tonality – it is that their musical structures allow them to convey powerful emotional narratives, and they have embraced the necessary freedoms to make those emotions personal, creative and passionate. The underground’s pathetic whining about major tonality, pink album covers and indie kids is proof that its spirit is not the same spirit that created yesterday’s great metal.

          1. salustiano slitherin says:

            Diocletian- Doom Cult is better than Deafhaven and it even starts with D. So does your favorite pastime: Dick taking. Pussy Pueblo ass nigga

          2. Svmmoned says:

            I would rather take the route of Autarcie or some similar band. They are injecting emotions, stylistic freedom and more recent ideas while still having metal kernel and perspective, which are invaluable. To me it sounds as if Darkthrone was reborn in the 2000s, influenced by all that has happened in the genre and in the world since the 90s.

            more radically:

      2. GRIDS, AIDS, Deafheaven says:

        and you sit on dildos!

        1. Salustiano says:

          haha got’em :)))) another victory for the HESH GANG!!! SODOMIZE THE WEAK!!! :))))

      3. Thewaters says:

        Is this an elaborate troll? Im starting to think you are just messing with us now lol

  3. Gynecomastia Fetishist says:

    Deafheaven sounds more like a forced amalgamation of styles than a cohesive sound. This is true with a lot of millennial “metal” (not metal) bands like Twitching Tongues. Even more hessian bands like Obliteration have this problem.

    1. Deat Meat says:

      You bring up an interesting topic with that. It’s like millennials came in at a point where a lot of good shit had already been made and genres crystallized, and the internet gave them access to all of it, not to mention the rise of social media, so many of them were bred into an atmosphere of safety, abstraction, and ability to express themselves at the flick of a switch.

      It led to a lot of experimentation and an impressive amount of improvement in a technical sense (not just in metal or music but in other areas, e.g. skateboarding). However most of it is has lost any kind of compelling spirit and meanwhile mainstream youth culture is dominated by shitty rap music.

  4. Dead Meat says:

    Things are important as you make them. If you think it’s important to be a huge pussy, Deafheaven is probably a pretty good band for you.

    1. Salustiano says:

      woah dude deep…

      1. Dead Meat says:

        It wasn’t supposed to be deep, I was just calling you a gay fucking faggot which you are. Fuck you.

        1. Salustiano says:

          What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the post-metal hordes, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on hessians, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in narrative structural warfare and I’m the top songwriter in the entire Death Metal Underground. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with structural analysis the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of indie kids and vegans across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your metal. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can reinterpret any album in over seven hundred ways, and that’s without harmonic analysis. Not only am I extensively trained in recontextualization, but I have access to the entire arsenal of post-metal and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable underground off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what life-affirming retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit pink album covers all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.

          1. Profag sucked my cock says:

            Man i dislike deafheaven but you’re pretty funny i’ll give you that.
            Why deafheaven and not another band of that blackgaze scene, why not alcest ?

          2. Dead Meat says:

            Yeah okay. Deafheaven still sucks.

          3. Dead Meat says:

            Besides your Dragonball Z hacker spergout, I’m not scared of a Deafheaven fan. If you met me in real life your face would look like it went through the spokes of a speeding Harley.

  5. Creed Braddock says:

    Starting a new thread to avoid the formatting issues of a long-winded reply:
    Salustiano, due to your enthusiasm I devoted a holiday train ride to listening to Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. All of it. Now, before I give this summary of the experience I want to let you know that I’m not some insecure metalhead that’s terrified of losing cred or a tonal conservative that is allergic to major keys, nor do I really care whether a record clings to the format of an established genre. I care about whether the music is well put together or communicates something timeless and transcendent- something I think we can all agree on as to why we are on this site. That being said, the record not only doesn’t fulfill those requirements, but it brazenly shuns them in favor of a headlong charge into weakness as if it was aurally weaponized.
    Let’s get the first major claim that they are the most interesting band in metal out of the way. The only things that are tangientially metal about this record are the vocals and blastbeats. That’s it. And they are strictly there as a middle finger to metal fans, as the band is saying fuck your aesthetic, we can copy your techniques as we know our audience can only hear superficialities so we can get away with draping them over something entirely different and not only will people not know the difference, but they will praise it as innovative. Let’s call Deafheaven what it really is: stylistically some kind of amalgamation of 90s twangy alternative like Pavement, Seaweed and Failure, emotionally colored by the punishing wimpiness of songwriters like Ben Folds and Hayden, careened over the strained spaces of bands like Mogwai but most importantly, grafted onto the structures of Wings-era Paul McCartney in all his shambling, fragmented and tenuously shithoused together arrangements.
    Also unlike metal, despite your claim of their superior melodic sensibility, the way that they craft riffs is firmly rooted in post-rock in that the majority of the riffs consist of strummed chords in a folk fashion with melodies on top as an afterthought, rather than how metal lets the bare melody guide the song. To be completely fair, legit black metal does this as well, but in the sense of pushing a primal trance-like call to war upon the audience whereas here, Deafheaven does it to tug at heartstrings as the harmonic movement of chords serves as more conclusionless suspense than guaranteed resolution. In fact, despite the claim of a wide tonal palette, there is so little happening on this record in terms of musical movement that it shows its hand immediately and becomes ultimately self-referential in that there is a relatively singular emotion dredged up from the note arrangements, so much so in fact, that the catharsis that comes from chord changes is a far more brief respite than what would be utilized by a more advanced songwriter as keys that they settle in are stretched to the absolute limit. They drive their single-note vision so hard that when they do change keys, as shown in the first track, it comes off as a “Ta-da!” sleight of hand parlor trick rather than a tool to advance a narrative. Only once on the record, in “Canary Yellow” does the band actually take a dynamic melody and elaborate on it to fully tell a story. That moment is buried in one of three 10-minute songs on the record. Seriously, fuck you Deafheaven for making me endure these somehow monotone yet at the same time gratuitously overwrought songs. The material is so bloated that when a 5 minute track like “Near” arrives, it feels like a goddamned vacation yet they still manage to fill that time with a singular melodic coloring which makes the track seem almost longer than the ten-plus minute ones. This album is a fucking slog. And when it doesn’t stick to singular ideas, it frankensteins up a storm of half-baked ideas like in “Honeycomb” which is an absolute songwriting nightmare in that the ebb and flow of natural climax is tossed right in the trash and the melodic ideas are completely disconnected yet still all share the same tonal coloring. This track is an unforgivably bad song. If you like the riffs that is fine, but holistically the song and construction of the record are not just flawed but unabashedly erroneous to the point of satire. The best song on the record is the expectedly-at-this-point one note “Night People” which thankfully sheds its metal aesthetics entirely but at this point that’s like cutting the warts off a shitty ass. If they were to evolve into a band that was completely metal free like on this track they at least would make sense in terms of having a consistent direction. The cognitive dissonance of Deafheaven is in that while metal attempts to transcend humanness, Deafheaven is unrelentingly human, cloying to the point of diabetic shock and not human in terms of observant of the depth of conflict but a celebration of humanity’s most inane aspects and weaknesses. It’s also due to this that it is the perfect modern product in that it is
    -textural rather than melodically consistent
    -“extreme” through the use of aesthetics only, so kids can listen to it safely
    -scatterbrained to reflect modern thinking yet tonally singular so it isn’t progressive enough to challenge
    -celebratory of the most infantile reflections of human emotion so it is universally acclaimed

    I am glad that you are passionate about the band and record. In this increasingly empty world it is good to resonate with anything, however you cannot chastise people for criticizing a band so glaringly flawed. This record was a punishment to endure for fairly concrete reasons, so either you are not aware of them or are at a point in your life where they can be overlooked in favor of the record’s strengths. I look forward to your synopsis so I can maybe view the record in a different light.

  6. LordKrumb says:

    Brett is right to suggest this Nachtlieder album deserves a second listen. It’s a curious work that impressed me enough – in parts – to give it several spins in order to figure out what was drawing me back.

    The album contains numerous memorable highlights amongst flawed arrangements and its overly-derivative riff ideas. These riff ideas are from a range of apparent death, black and folk metal influences, and most of the album’s best riffs are highly reminiscent of other bands but are used in a kaleidoscopic mix in each song.

    Some of the riff pairings and sequences make for surprisingly powerful moments that replay in the mind after the album ends, even though there isn’t one track that’s great from start to finish.

    Take the sequence of ideas used in the third track, “Song of Nova” – perhaps the strongest track overall on the album:

    1. Starts with a somewhat twee post-metal melody
    2. Switches to a more engaging Cruciamentum-style ‘Incanta-clone’ melodic rhythm guitar riff
    3. Back to the post-metal riff
    4. An interesting development of the first Cruciamentum-style riff
    5. Abruptly breaks down into chuggy Metallica palm-muting, which mostly fails to create drama and serves no purpose other than to create contrast via a pleasant distraction
    6. Abruptly launches into a redeeming and beautifully well-orchestrated twin-guitar harmonised variant of the Cruciamentum riff
    7. Finishes with a re-run of the post-metal riff, then the Cruciamentum riff and its aforementioned variants in a thoroughly excellent sequence (final minute of the song).

    It’s moments like the end section of that song that kept me coming back to the album, perhaps in the forlorn hope that it would somehow shed its weaknesses or I’d start to appreciate the aspects that don’t work.

    The upside is that it shows the artist has the vision to embrace a strong idea, develop interesting variations of it and link the variations together into powerful, memorable music.

    One could justifiably imagine Nachtlieder has the talent to formulate a more successful artistic work if the effort and time she spent creating 40 minutes of music had instead been focused on iteratively developing her best ideas into a much shorter and stronger release.

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