PHOTOS: Deafheaven leads lineup of dense blackgaze at August Hall


Photos: Joaquin Cabello

SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area blackgaze metal band Deafheaven brought its 2018 album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, with its dreamy soundscapes of shoegaze and the extremeness of black metal to a sold-out August Hall Tuesday.


Deafheaven performs at August Hall in San Francisco on Aug. 14, 2018.

With a set loaded with new material, the quintet opened with “Honeycomb” and “Canary Yellow.” The two dogs amounted to about 23 minutes of the Deafheaven signature blend of heavy, dense metal sounds paired with captivating textured sonic soundscapes that provide the structure of melody.

The set continued with “Sunbather,” the title track of the band’s 2013 album.While Deafheaven didn’t invent the sound, Sunbather set a certain precedent in hardcore, metal, shoegaze and the new wave scene—it’s really good. The 10-minute “Sunbather” perfectly demonstrated the intensity and emotional tension that this genre achieves.

The show continued with “Brought to the Water,” off 2015’s New Bermuda, “You Without End” and single “From Kettle onto the Coil,” about the confrontation of emotions like euphoria and pain. Deafheaven closed with “Dream House,” which wasn’t a surprise but never goes out of style.

Drab Majesty performs at August Hall in San Francisco on Aug. 14, 2018.

Los Angeles duo Drab Majesty might not seem like the perfect companion for a night full of sharp guitars and heavy sounds. But if listeners look closer, at the combination of new wave sounds blended with more mellow atmospherics, they can see how Drab Majesty fits the bill.

The band kept fans immersed, playing songs mostly from its 2017 album, The Demonstration, such as “Dot in the Sky” and “39 by Design.”

Openers Uniform, from New York, showed a noisier, hardcore side with a ’90s lo-fi metalcore sound. Uniform opened the night being really loud and its intensity overwhelmed fans with different layers of musical density, with was the goal. The band mixed organic sounds with drop-tuned guitars.

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