DEAFHEAVEN – roads to judah – CD digisleeveCD digisleevedeathwish records2011
Recorded by Jack Shirley (guitarist of Comadre), « Roads to Judah », is a hypnotic thirty eight minute plunge into hazy musical darkness. A dizzying hybrid of Shoe-gaze shimmer, Hardcore vulnerability, and Black Metal intensity.
From the opening drone of the album it’s as if we are are peering through a dream into the private world that is Deafheaven’s « Roads to Judah ». Layers and layers of instrumentation build, tangle and swirl before the real onslaught begins. A ferocious drum fill then thrusts us from the serene into a free fall, as if the ground below suddenly gave way. From there we plummet through one awe inducing sonic fog into the next, blurring the traditional lines of song. Hyper blasts of speed rage and pulse while lush guitars bellow, roar and whine with unorthodox melody. And just as we feel we’ve departed from reality from the aural overload, tortured vocals cry out from afar. Serving as a stark reminder that there is something very human about « Roads to Judah » and Deafheaven themselves.
Though the title could suggest something otherworldly, the « Judah » referenced is in fact the « N Judah » train, the busiest line of the San Francisco transit system. A relatable landmark to compliment the haunting ambiguity that surrounds Deafheaven and the music that they collectively create. On it, much of the lyrical writing and personal reflection for this album took place.
With that said, « Roads to Judah » isn’t Heavy Metal role play, but a beautifully blackened artistic exploration of the issues and self loathing that can cloud every day life. A stunning a achievement emotionally and musically that will surely shape aggressive music for years to come.