Wilderness in Sound: Deafheaven, This Will Destroy You, Emma Ruth Rundle
Photography: Bryan Yalta
The basis of the night: a culmination of ethereal melodies mixed in with black metal riffs. Deafheaven headlined an evening at Trees on March 3rd, which included This Will Destroy You and Emma Ruth Rundle. Serving almost as a showcase of the modern state of Metal, a strong focus on instrumentation, experimentation and energy ripped apart the soul of many fans--in a good way.
The vibrant folk tunes of Emma Ruth Rundle opened the show by building a haunting setting. With a sound similar to P. J. Harvey, the Californian singer-songwriter used her guitar like a sonic gun, shifting between distorted riffs and slowly-strummed chords. It seemed like the right way to start the lineup--raising the volume a level higher as time passed.
Starting and ending their set tenderly quiet, Texas band This Will Destroy You filled the in-between with enough fuzz and reverb to create both a calm and chaotic atmosphere. The band produced a torrent of dynamics in a gradual and smooth flow. Crescendos blended the noisier aspects of their songs with the spatial, moody ones which felt like an ongoing adventure. It was apparent there was tension between some of the band members in the middle of their performance, due to minor guitar problems, but it was barely noticeable as their wall of sound covered the small setback.
As soon as they got onstage, California band Deafheaven displayed a presence immediately showing that they weren't messing around that night. Lead singer George Clarke's body movements were that of a conductor as well as a wrestler. There wasn't a moment where he was still. Likewise, the audience was constantly prompted by Clarke to get closer to the stage in order to form a mosh pit. Many fans went a step higher and joined the band onstage, reveling in the spotlight until Clarke, with force, pushed each fan off, forcing them to crowdsurf.
Deafheaven's performance was essentially a form of command that sonically engaged everyone to go nuts--and indeed, fans galore were behaving nothing short of wild. The band;s unique blend of Shoegaze and Black Metal proved to be heavier translated onto a live environment. Long songs tend to provide room for more substance in sound and all three acts are a testament to that.
Deafheaven is currently on a U.S. Spring tour with This Will Destroy You and Emma Ruth Rundle. Check out some photos from the Dallas show below.