There’s very much a sense of irony if you include the word ‘deaf’ in your band name. However, two of history’s most successful rock bands spawned from laughing at that irony, namely being Def Leppard, and Deftones, who are most certainly not deaf, judging by millions of record sales across the world. There are a couple of other bands who have a measurable amount of success from featuring the word ‘deaf’ too such as Deaf Havana and Deafheaven, but having not been in the game for as long as the other two yet, critical acclaim will have to do the talking for now. It then seems fitting for a band that have seemingly disbanded to be called The Deaf, on a play on words term, and as a focal point for how loud their music can get. This Minneapolis trio play a scuzzy, lo-fi noise rock landslide, loud enough to be thunder but relaxing enough to feel the sea at your feet. Across the 14 songs that This Bunny Bites bestows, it’s rapid-fire, it’s jammed to bursting with riffs and booming grooves and charged with enough energy to take out power grids. Album highlight Beatdown does exactly what it says on the tin; a two-minute incantation to incite an all-out slug-fest wrapped into a scorching hot guitar performance and drums battered to an inch of their lives, that can still space a listener out in absolute bliss. That to me is rare, that a band can roughhouse and relax in equal stead, with such little effort. Hopefully this band aren’t done, because there is a gift here that needs to be uncovered and shared with the wider world.
The Deaf’s 2007 album This Bunny Bites can be found on Learning Curve Record’s Bandcamp page for a small fee, or at most respectable music retailers too.
Some of the best kinds of music ensnare you for a listening experience unlike any other. Pink Floyd. Mastodon. Ozric Tentacles, if you know of them, just to name a few. Minnesota’s Maeth take cues in what makes these three bands world class songwriters, yet are very much their own unique beast, with extra emphasis on the beast. What you’re getting is a progressive metal band that are unafraid to take their music above and beyond tired barriers. The entirety of 2012’s Horse Funeral EP is one song broken into five segments in which the title track here, goes on as much as a flight as the rest of the album. Starting in space almost, sludge mode engages for an impressive show of strength and a surprisingly catchy riff, colliding head on with excellent off-kilter drums. The soundscape is then hushed into a repetition of that riff, supported by a gentle touch of bass before an ethereal flute takes hold of the proceedings. See, progressive music doesn’t get that spiritual sounding nowadays, but these gentlemen can take it there or wherever they please, as their near-leagues below sea level depth is astounding. Maeth aren’t musicians, they’re dreamweavers. Whether that’s a psychedelic tour of space, or a terrifying avalanche solely to crush, they deserve to breach their cult status as one of progressive metal’s most exciting new bands.
The Horse Funeral EP was only the beginning. Please go check out their 2013 album Oceans Into Ashes on their Bandcamp, as it expands the groundwork covered here into a fully-fledged masterpiece.