Deafheaven - Sunbather
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2013 Ratings: #2 / 1080
Year End Rank: #26
User Score
2013 Ratings: #5
Liked by 90 people
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A.V. Club

What’s undeniable is that moments from Sunbather will resonate long after the pointless babble has died down, proving that sometimes the greatest beauty can only be found in the face of chaos.


Many bands go through their entire career without making an album as well crafted, fully realized, and downright gorgeous as Sunbather, and somehow, Deafheaven have managed to nail it on their second outing, with an album that seems to get bigger and more affective with each listen.

The Skinny
Ultimately, Deafheaven's songwriting talents have improved in a big way here; each track more consciously built around the bigger picture, making for a consistently gripping, emotionally cleansing whole.
NOW Magazine

The record alchemizes shoegaze's hazy wall of distortion and black metal's quick-fire drumming and tormented, raspy howling.


Deafheaven’s second outing is wondrous celebration of boundless ambition and pure artistic vision.

Beats Per Minute

Sunbather is a future classic, no matter where you pigeonhole it, and that’s the mark of a true sonic masterpiece. Black metal, not black metal, just call it what it is: perfect.

The 405

This quest for perfection has yielded the most emotive and powerful music Deafheaven have yet written. Their sound is much more expansive than before, and even more varied.


Deafheaven’s audacity and artistry are hard to deny, which is but one of many reasons why Sunbather is an essential listen, and one of 2013’s boldest works of art.

Consequence of Sound

Sunbather is a developed, mature, and, above all, an original statement that truly lives up to the unbelievable amount of hype it has earned.

No Ripcord

Sunbather is an absolutely massive, all-encompassing experience, one that’s both frighteningly intense and indescribably beautiful – often simultaneously.


There’s something deeply relevant about Sunbather, as if it touches a sort of inner anxiety and insecurity that currently lingers in many of us.

The result is a perfectly flowing album that is, at times, as calming as it is chaotic.
It’s a bit bloody brilliant. A record everyone with half an experimental ear should experience, even if they run from it, screaming.
Crack Magazine

Deafheaven’s new full length and follow-up to 2011’s Roads to Judah, is a near masterpiece. We can say that. It is an incredible piece of work.


It has the ability to capture the attention of people who don't normally listen to heavy music. It's also one of the most successful examples of a band using black metal as a starting point and ending up somewhere else entirely. 


Sunbather comes laced with post-rock grace and a pop-like accessibility. Nor are those elements sequestered from the black-metal bombardment: They are part of it, or, depending upon your perspective, it is part of them. 

The Needle Drop

West Coast metal outfit Deafheaven has really improved their sound on this latest outing of theirs, delivering sharper, more triumphant compositions through a barrage of black metal-style instrumentation.

Rolling Stone
Deafheaven make shoegazer metal that does its dark work in the background but refuses to stay in one place.
how can it be metal.............. if the cover is pink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's called """""""black"""" metal for a reason... not PINK metal... everyone knows the true PINK metal already belongs to Boris. ... read more
If the world was coming to an end, this is the record I would listen to. I would walk out of my house put "Sunbather" on my iPod and I would feel at peace. One final deafening roar before an eternity of silence.
November 16th 2018
Fresno, California

Me and my old man are eating Richie's Pizza, just on the opposite side of the block from where the show is going to take place. Counting down the minutes. Thirty. Twenty. Fifteen. We're talking music, like anyone might do before a concert. He's never seen a "black metal" band live, but it's not exactly new to him either. He talks with me about his old recording studio. How he used to record local metal and reggae acts with a friend. He ... read more
The first place I heard this album was my biology class. I was looking for something to listen to while doing my work, found this, didn't check the tags and thought "hmmmm, this looks calming."

It wasn't.

But at the same kinda was.

@lerkenfeldt said "If the world was coming to an end, this is the record I would listen to. I would walk out of my house put "Sunbather" on my iPod and I would feel at peace. One final deafening roar before an eternity of ... read more
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Added on: May 22, 2013