Last updated
Deafheaven @ A Colossal Weekend 2017 42.jpg
Deafheaven in Copenhagen in 2017. From left to right: Shiv Mehra, Chris Johnson, George Clarke, and Kerry McCoy, with Daniel Tracy in the background.
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Years active2010 (2010)–present
Associated acts
  • George Clarke
  • Kerry McCoy
  • Daniel Tracy
  • Shiv Mehra
  • Chris Johnson
Past members

Deafheaven is an American post-metal band formed in 2010. Originally based in San Francisco, the group began as a two-piece with singer George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, who recorded and self-released a demo album together. Following its release, Deafheaven recruited three new members and began to tour. Before the end of 2010, the band signed to Deathwish Inc. and later released their debut album Roads to Judah, in April 2011. A follow-up album, Sunbather , was released in 2013 to wide critical acclaim, becoming one of the best reviewed albums of the year in the United States. [7] In 2015 the band released their third album, New Bermuda , [8] and in 2018 their fourth, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love .

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially City and County of San Francisco and colloquially known as SF, San Fran or "The City", is a city in—and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of—Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is the 12th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States, with 4,729,484 people in 2018. With San Jose, it forms the fifth most populous combined statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

Kerry McCoy (musician) American musician

Kerry McCoy is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist of San Francisco-based blackgaze band Deafheaven.


Deafheaven's musical style has been described by Rolling Stone as a "boundary-pushing blend of black metal, shoegaze and post-rock". [9] McCoy has cited various other influences on the band's sound, including alternative rock and early thrash metal, and said they do not consider themselves a black metal band, because, although influenced by the genre, they do not have "the ethos, the aesthetic or really the sound of one". [10] In a 2017 interview with Red Bull Music Academy Daily, McCoy stated: "The whole shoegaze/black metal, or post-black metal thing, was being done ten years before we were a band." [11]

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. It has returned its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.

Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock guitars and drums with electronic instruments. The genre emerged within the indie and underground music scene of the 1980s and early 1990s. However, due to its abandonment of rock conventions, it often bears little resemblance musically to contemporary indie rock, borrowing instead from diverse sources including ambient music, electronica, jazz, dub, and minimalist classical.


Formation and demo (2010)

Deafheaven formed in February 2010 [12] in San Francisco, California with vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, who previously performed in the grindcore band Rise of Caligula together. [13] [14] Clarke is not sure how he arrived on the name Deafheaven, though he is aware of its appearance in William Shakespeare's Sonnet 29. The two words 'deaf' and 'heaven' were combined as a homage to Slowdive. [15]

California U.S. state in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

William Shakespeare 16th and 17th-century English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Clarke and McCoy recorded an untitled demo album in April 2010 at Atomic Garden Studios [16] with Jack Shirley for about US$500, which the band could not afford at the time. [17] Because the duo did not own an electric guitar or amp at the time, the demo was written on an acoustic guitar and recorded with equipment borrowed from the studio. [17] The untitled demo, which was released digitally and on cassette tape in limited quantities, featured four songs that combined traditional black metal and post-rock. [18] Originally, Deafheaven did not intend to release the material, but they later sent it out to a few of their favorite blogs. [13] [18] After the demo had been positively received, Clarke and McCoy recruited three additional musicians—bassist Derek Prine, guitarist Nick Bassett of the shoegaze band Whirr (formerly Whirl [19] ) and drummer Trevor Deschryver, who responded to an ad on Craigslist—to form a five-piece group, and started playing their first shows in July 2010. [13] [18]

Jack Shirley is an American record producer, audio engineer and musician. He is best known for his work with Deafheaven, whose 2013 sophomore album Sunbather received widespread critical acclaim. Shirley also worked with various other music acts, including Loma Prieta, Bosse-de-Nage, Punch, Whirr, La Bella, State Faults and Frameworks. Besides his production work, he plays guitar for the bands Comadre and Everybody Row.

Whirr (band)

Whirr is an American shoegaze band from the San Francisco Bay Area. The group formed in 2010, originally as Whirl, but had to legally change its name after a woman performing acoustic covers of Black Sabbath songs trademarked the name and threatened a lawsuit. Whirr's shoegaze sound is often compared to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Founding guitarist Nick Bassett also played in the band Deafheaven surrounding and including the release of their 2011 album Roads to Judah.

Craigslist classified advertisements website

Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

George Clarke performing in Barcelona in 2012 Deafheaven - George Clarke.jpg
George Clarke performing in Barcelona in 2012

Signing to Deathwish and Roads to Judah (2010–2012)

Deafheaven announced they had signed to Deathwish Inc. in December 2010 [20] —a label that was founded by Converge's vocalist Jacob Bannon. Deathwish contacted Deafheaven, and originally only wanted to give their demo a wide physical release. By this point, the group already had some new material written and asked if Deathwish could release both the demo and the new material. [18] The first release that Deafheaven released through Deathwish was a 7" vinyl single that featured "Libertine Dissolves" and "Daedalus", two songs that were taken from the group's demo. The single was pressed in a limited quantity and sent out as a gift to random people that made a purchase from Deathwish's webstore. [21]

Deathwish Inc.

Deathwish, Inc. is an independent record label founded by Jacob Bannon of Converge and Tre McCarthy. The idea of the label was conceived by Bannon and McCarthy in 2000. Their first release was Deeper the Wound, a split album between Converge and Japanese band Hellchild on April 23, 2001. Deathwish established itself quickly, working with a diverse group of bands and eventually becoming one of the most respected and innovative labels in contemporary hardcore punk and aggressive music in general.

Converge (band) American hardcore punk band

Converge is an American hardcore punk band formed by vocalist Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou in Salem, Massachusetts in 1990. During the recording of their seminal fourth album Jane Doe, the group became a four-piece with the departure of guitarist Aaron Dalbec and the addition of bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller. This lineup has remained intact since. They have released nine studio albums, three live albums, and numerous EPs. The band's sound is rooted in both hardcore punk and heavy metal, and they are considered pioneers of metalcore as well as its subgenre mathcore.

Jacob Bannon American musician

Jacob Bannon is the vocalist, lyricist, and graphic artist for the American metalcore band Converge. He is the founder and owner of the record label Deathwish Inc. and the author of many visual works for independent punk rock and heavy metal musicians. Bannon has also composed and performed experimental music as Supermachiner with Ryan Parker and more recently as Wear Your Wounds.

Their debut album, Roads to Judah , was released on April 26, 2011 through Deathwish. [16] The title of the album is a reference to the N Judah light rail that provides transportation in Deafheaven's hometown, [18] and lyrically the album is about Clarke's "year of substance abuse and debauchery." [22] Roads to Judah received positive reviews from Decibel and RVA Magazine , [23] [24] and was placed on several year-end lists including NPR, Pitchfork and The A.V. Club . [25] [26] [27] MSN Music also named Deafheaven one of the best new artists of 2011. [28]

<i>Roads to Judah</i> 2011 studio album by Deafheaven

Roads to Judah is the debut studio album by the American blackgaze band Deafheaven. The album was released by Deathwish Inc. on April 26, 2011. Roads to Judah was recorded in four days between December 2010 and January 2011.

N Judah San Francisco light rail line

The N Judah is a Muni Metro light rail line in San Francisco, California, so named as it runs along Judah Street for much of its length, named after railroad engineer Theodore Judah. It links downtown San Francisco to the Cole Valley and Sunset neighborhoods. It is the busiest line in the Muni Metro system, serving an average of 41,439 weekday passengers in 2013. It was one of San Francisco's streetcar lines, beginning operation in 1928, and was partially converted to modern light-rail operation with the opening of the Muni Metro system in 1980. While many streetcar lines were converted to bus lines after World War II, the N Judah remained a streetcar line due to its use of the Sunset Tunnel.

Decibel is a monthly heavy metal magazine published by the Philadelphia-based Red Flag Media since October 2004. Its sections include Upfront, Features, Reviews, Guest Columns and the Decibel Hall of Fame. The magazine's tag-line is currently "Extremely Extreme" ; the editor-in-chief is Albert Mudrian.

To promote Roads to Judah, Deafheaven performed at Austin, Texas' SXSW festival in March 2011, [13] [22] toured the United States with the Canadian noise rock band KEN mode in June 2011, [29] performed at California's Sound and Fury Festival in July 2011, [30] toured the US with the post-rock band Russian Circles in November 2011, [31] and performed a European tour in February 2012. [32] McCoy said that Russian Circles "took us under their wing" while on tour and taught them how a band ought to behave. He said, "The three rules of any successful band are to write good tunes, be excellent live, and to not be an asshole while doing that. We were always striving to do that, but [Russian Circles] hammered it into our heads." [33] Deafheaven also participated in the mid-2012 festivals Northside in Brooklyn, New York [34] and Fun Fun Fun in Austin, Texas. [35]

As a part of Deathwish Inc's free live album series, Deafheaven released Live at The Blacktop in July 2011. The album featured an entire live performance from January 15, 2011 in Bell Gardens, California at The Blacktop—a former loading dock converted into a venue. [36] In October 2012, Deafheaven released a split EP with the American black metal band Bosse-de-Nage through The Flenser. Deafheaven contributed a cover of two Mogwai songs, "Punk Rock" and "Cody", released as a single track. [37] The two songs originate from Mogwai's 1999 album Come On Die Young . Also in 2012, Deafheaven released a remastered, limited-edition vinyl record of its 2010 demo through Sargent House. [38]

George Clarke (left), Daniel Tracy (back), and Kerry McCoy (right) performing in 2013 Deafheaven - Live 2013.jpg
George Clarke (left), Daniel Tracy (back), and Kerry McCoy (right) performing in 2013

Sunbather, new lineup and critical acclaim (2013–2014)

As early as September 2011, Deafheaven announced they had begun writing new music for a potential split album, EP or full-length. At the time, McCoy described the material as being "faster, darker, a lot heavier and far more experimental" than Roads to Judah. [12] However, in December 2012, Clarke described their new material as less melancholic and less centered around black metal, but rather featuring a more "lush and rock-driven, even pop-driven" sound at times. [39] The new album, titled Sunbather , was written solely by founding members Clarke and McCoy [40] —similar to the way its demo was composed, but different from Roads to Judah, which was written as a five-piece band. The duo were also joined in the studio by new drummer Daniel Tracy, [41] who "added his own drum style to already-constructed song skeletons." [40] The title of the album reflects Clarke's idea of perfection. He stated that it is meant to represent, "A wealthy, beautiful, perfect existence that is naturally unattainable and the struggles of having to deal with that reality because of your own faults, relationship troubles, family troubles, death, et cetera." [40] Deafheaven entered the studio to record Sunbather in January 2013 with Jack Shirley, [39] and released the album on June 11, 2013 through Deathwish. [42]

Sunbather was critically acclaimed upon release. Metacritic rated the album 92/100, based on 18 reviews, [43] and later declared it the best-reviewed major album of 2013. [7] It was also Deafheaven's first release to chart on Billboard —it ranked at number 130 on the Billboard 200 and number 2 on the Top Heatseekers chart. [44]

In addition to new drummer Daniel Tracy, who was a part of the band for the recording of Sunbather, the band recruited bassist Stephen Clark and guitarist Shiv Mehra for 2013 tours. [14] Founding members Clarke and McCoy said previous band members parted ways due to difficulties with life on the road and earning little-to-no money. [17] Deafheaven's first tour in support of Sunbather was a European/Russian tour with The Secret in April/May 2013 [45] followed by a US tour with Marriages in June/July. [46] In 2014, Deafheaven toured Australia in January, [47] supported Between the Buried and Me with Intronaut and The Kindred in February/March, [48] toured Asia and Europe in May/June, [49] the US with Pallbearer in June, [49] then embarked on a second European tour in August, [50] and a North American tour with No Joy in September. [50]

In 2013, Deafheaven members Daniel Tracy and Shiv Mehra formed a psychedelic rock side project called Creepers with Varun Mehra and Christopher Natividad. That year, the band released a self-titled EP, and in 2014, released its debut album Lush through All Black Recording Company [51] [52] —an indie label founded by George Clarke and former Deafheaven member Derek Prine. [53]

On August 25, 2014, Deafheaven released a new single titled "From the Kettle Onto the Coil" as a part of the cable network Adult Swim's 2014 weekly singles series. [54] Clarke described the song as following a similar formula to songs composed for Sunbather and was not a strong indication of what the band's third studio album might sound like. [55]

New Bermuda and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love (2015–present)

In July 2015, Deafheaven began teasing their third studio album for a possible October 2015 release through Epitaph Records' sister label Anti- with a short video featuring new music clips, studio footage and views of a rocky coastline. [56] [57] On July 28, 2015, the band announced their third studio album, titled New Bermuda , which was released on October 2, 2015, through Anti-. [58] New Bermuda was named the 12th best album of the year in 2015 Spin magazine. [59]

The band started working on the follow up to New Bermuda in January 2018, when they announced they were in the studio working on a new album, scheduled for release later in the year. [60] On April 17, 2018, the band released "Honeycomb", the lead single to their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love . [61] On June 12, 2018, a new track from the new album titled "Canary Yellow" was released. [62] [63] The album was released on July 13, 2018 through Anti-. It received widespread acclaim from critics.

On December 7 it was announced that the single "Honeycomb" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. [64] [65]

The band released a b-side, from their fourth album, called "Black Brick" on February 27, 2019. [66]


Deafheaven @ A Colossal Weekend 2017 37 Crop.jpg
George Clarke in 2017
Kerry McCoy performing with Deafheaven in 2013.jpg
Kerry McCoy in 2013
Deafheaven @ A Colossal Weekend 2017 40.jpg
Shiv Mehra in 2017

Current members

Former members

Former touring musicians




Studio albums

Extended plays


Live albums

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