Both the praise given to Sunbather and the prominence of Deafheaven in contemporary independent are well earned. But before Metacritic’s top album of 2013 and debut album Roads to Judah, Deafheaven released a 2010 demo that was reissued on the hype of Sunbather. Early Deafheaven owes Liturgy and Krallice for its material: “Libertine Dissolves” would not be out of place on the former’s Renihilation, and “Exit: Denied” has some of the latter’s manic progressiveness.
The progressions are simpler than those found on Deafheaven’s studio releases; Demo satisfies those curious as to where the band got their start, but others may be disappointed in the relative simplicity of the tracks. A curious highlight is two-minute interlude “Bedrooms,” which thankfully foregoes the tired Dorian-mode arpeggios used by many black and doom metal groups1 in favor of a brief fingerpicked acoustic solo.
1. Libertine Dissolves – (5:13) – ★★★☆☆
2. Bedrooms – (2:06) – ★★★★☆
3. Daedalus – (5:54) – ★★☆☆☆
4. Exit: Denied – (11:29) – ★★☆☆☆
[UPDATE 15 March 2016: Changed the overall rating from three-and-a-half stars to three stars.]
[UPDATE 26 April 2016: Changed the overall rating from three stars to two-and-a-half stars.]
1Good way to pad your album, I guess.