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These Are The Eight Best DEAFHEAVEN Deep Cuts

Scouring the back catalogue of the blackgaze pioneers.


Although polarising for some of the more, let’s say, ‘ardent’ black metal enthusiasts, you cannot deny the glass-ceiling-smashing success Deafheaven have achieved in the last decade-plus. Possibly the most successful black metal act ever to come out of North America, their second album Sunbather blew up hugely for the group.

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Mainstream publications like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone lost their collective minds over their combining of shoegaze, post-rock and atmospheric black metal. Although a little chalk-on-cheese of paper, Deafheaven’s pairing of the various genres into the so-called ‘blackgaze’ sound made them one of the most unique metal bands of the 2010s. Their subsequent LPs and singles have furthered that style with more experimental elements, leading to 2021’s clean-vocal dominated Infinite Granite.

With the 10th anniversary of Sunbather around the corner, we figure now is the perfect time to have put Deafheaven’s back catalogue under the microscope with a Deep Cuts article. Now, with a shallower collection of tunes than some of our previous focuses, you’ll have to forgive us for going for a more streamlined eight selections. However, with every Deafheaven effort represented, our choices are bound to challenge even the most dedicated fan…


Aptly starting our list with a number from the untitled first Deafheaven demo, it’s epic 11 minute closer “Exit:Denied” is certainly the most underrated cut. Very few people could claim to be hip to Deafheaven from the very start, however the self released 2010 four-track showed that key members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy had a clear vision of the band they wanted Deafheaven to be. All the key elements of their formative sound are here; from it’s manic primal black metal start to the mournful and emotional post rock ending. “Exit:Denied” certainly deserves more recognition.

“Gifts For The Earth”

Following up the unexpected critical smash that was Sunbather, 2015’s New Bermuda was a more metal and muscular sounding record, yet with even more atmospheric and experimental elements. Another final track selection here, with the “Gifts For The Earth” both the least played live and the least streamed tune from Deafheaven’s third full length. The instrumentalists are actually quite restrained and uptempo as they serve as the bed to Clarke’s reverb drenched howls and shrieks. The wall of sound outro is definitely it’s highspot though, with the howling guitars making way for Pink Floyd-esque acoustics, piano and tasteful leads. 

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“Language Games (Live)”

Lifted from the 10 Years Gone live-in-studio record, the eight track release was a way for the five-piece to celebrate their tenth anniversary during the peak Covid-19 times. It saw Deafheaven revisiting all eras, with some of the most interesting material taken from their underrated debut Roads To Judah. "Language Games" gets the best live treatment of the bunch, with the washy clean guitar-led bridge airily being pushed along by a quietly marching snare. While it’s a shame Deafheaven didn’t get to share their ten year celebrations in person with fans, “Language Games” highlights 10 Years Gone as a fantastic career-so-far overview.

“Night People”

A very, very mellow cut from 2018’s Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, the piano-driven “Night People” – featuring Chelsea Wolfe – is definitely one of Deafheaven’s most melodic songs to date. You can start to hear the change in the band that would climax with their next record, with male and female clean vocals sitting aloft the keys, restrained percussion and subtle guitars. Nothing like their shrieking black metal influenced epics, “Night People” is a prime example of a super talented artist who can successfully turn their hands to any other style.

“Other Language”

Dipping into Deafheaven’s most recent record, Infinite Granite saw the group push their sound into a different direction. With most of the black metal elements stripped back, the band embraced their more alternative rock leaning side, and for the most part pulled off the clean-vocal led output very nicely. The most underrated cut from this LP is the penultimate tune "Other Language”. Layers upon layers of dreamy guitars are gently nudged along by the busy drums, while Clarke’s cleans are strong and distinct. Infinite Granite was a bit of a risk for Deafheaven, but with great songs like “Other Language” overlooked, it speaks volumes on how good the rest of the album is.

“Punk Rock/Cody” (Mogwai cover)

An unsurprising influence on our focal point, Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai’s trailblazing sound has become an integral part of Deafheaven’s delay-washed style. The one-two cover of “Punk Rock” and “Cody”, taken from their somewhat forgotten split EP with Bosse-de-Nage, is a natural fit. The group do the earlier Mogwai material great justice, with it integrating into their style absolutely perfectly, ending the tribute in a manic wave of messy guitars.

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“Tunnel of Trees”

Revisiting their debut Roads To Judah again, the big finale “Tunnel of Trees” might be the most underrated song on our entire list. The raw and powerful sounding closer is another testament to the fact that Sunbather wasn’t some fluke pairing of sounds. Much like the other earlier Deafheaven choices featured here, most of the band’s classic schtick is on full display – it’s first half is total atmospheric black metal, yet it’s triumphantly somber outro is what separates the Americans from the rest of the pack. Any later day Deafheaven fans need to explore their pre-Sunbather work asap.


A more than worthy track to wrap up our list, the massive “Vertigo” is the longest tune from the modern day classic Sunbather. Somehow not seeing the stage in almost a decade, the near 15 minute mid-album gem is a masterpiece of tension building repetition. It’s mammoth opening instrumental passage builds and builds before Clarke and furious drumming comes roaring in at the five minute mark. “Vertigo” feels like it’s slowly petering out as we climb past the 11th minute, however we hit one more peak before things wrap up. Hopefully with Sunbather’s tenth birthday around the corner, Deafheaven can dust this off soon.

With a slightly shallower discography compared to our previous focuses, we challenge you to find a more underrated Deafheaven deep cut and chuck it in the comments below!

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