For too long has the heavier side of guitar music been dominated by angry men with long hair and black T-shirts. This is something new, something chimeric, something serious.
This record takes the sound, and unique technical aspects of melodic death/black metal, and integrates it with the wall of noise/soundscape elements of post-rock/punk bands like My bloody valentine, and sonic youth, and in doing so seems to have created a new cultural footprint. The result is utterly refreshing. There are bands; alter of plagues, wolves in the throne room, - who seem to be moving melodic black metal away from the tedious and angsty gothic-cabaret of bands like COD and Dimmu Borgir(whom I enjoy, but not without a hefty pinch of salt and regular bursts of belly laughter)but none I know of who have eschewed the cultural aesthetic of metal entirely. Which is why deafheaven and esp. sunbather is so exciting. It is not envisioned within the dogmatic confines of the heavy-metal subculture, it is expansive, unrestrained, and unapologetic about it.
The name too is apt, the music is the sonic equivalent of staring at the sky through closed eyelids on a hot cloudless day. You feel bathed in sound, it is at once aggravating and cleansing, combining the cultural literacy of post-rock with the aggression and catharsis of heavy metal. Seriously good stuff.