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Deaf Heaven at Vacation Vinyl on Monday June 27th, 2011

Vacation Vinyl had transformed itself into a sweat house on Monday night, it was hot and smelly, crowded and wet of sweat and spit on the floor. In this small store, if you want to take pictures, there is no other way than being in the front, and man, was I in the front! Way too close actually, pushed by the crowd and under the nose of the singer who was making these menacing and anxious faces, rolling his eyes, drooling like a bull ready to charge.

Deaf Heaven was playing at Vacation Vinyl and they had drawn a large crowd of metal fans. I could not back up stuck between some vinyl records and other people, as the band was playing their long dark pieces with the real dramatic presence of frontman George Clarke, posing for the longest time, one hand holding the mic, his face fixing the floor, his back bent as if he was unable to move, thrown to the ground by the heaviness of the sound released by his band mates.

It was a curious scene that he repeated many times, and when he was singing, it was a scream, but an almost mute scream, his mouth large open, drooling and sweating all over the place. His poses were coming straight from the hardcore scene, some good photo opportunities, if there were some. But I am still wondering whether the barely audible vocals were due to the loudness of the instruments, or whether it was done on purpose, acting like their moniker says, Deaf Heaven, mimicking the scream with powerful expressions, but unable to make himself heard. Listening to some of their tracks on line, I can tell there are in fact vocals and lyrics, but they are so indecipherable that the idea still stays the same.

The music was more atmospheric than metal most of the time, shoegazing and raw at the same time, not moving in any direction, but filling the room with an accumulation of layers of sound louder and louder, like a violent and aggressive storm you may not survive. It was a desolated and hopeless soundscape where the loudest cries, the most desperate yells could not be heard.

The black metal band, although I am not sure if they would agree with this denomination, are from San Francisco and pretty new on the music scene with a recent exposure at the SXSW festival this year. They started as a project between George Clarke and the guitar player, who sent their demo to a few blogs, and did their first gig on July 2010.

Last April, they have released a LP entitled ‘Roads To Judah’ via Deathwish, a hardcore label, and meanwhile you can stream their Deaf heaven demo at their Bandcamp here:

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