Monday, April 11, 2016

Music Review: Deftones - Gore

by Dan Moore

With their 8th studio album in 28 years, Deftones continues to dish out solid albums and ear-bleeding tunes. Their newest, Gore, is no exception. Trying to top 2012’s masterful Koi No Yokan is almost impossible, but they give it a good try with this newest effort. From beginning to end, this album is what you’d come to expect from Deftones output. Crunching guitar riffs, haunting vocals from frontman Chino Moreno and his trademark cryptic lyrics. Whereas Koi No Yokan seemed to be one long excellent track, there’s a distinct separation between songs on this release. They go from the epic guitar and chorus of "Prayers/Triangles" to the long form "Acid Hologram" followed by the screaming on "Doomed User." They all work together to form an excellent beginning to the album.

The band continues to be lumped in with the nu-metal craze from the 90s, but they’re so much more than that. They’ve evolved past that generalization and into their own genre of music. I’ll call it a mix of ambient sounds and rock. Look no further than "Xenon" on this album, and try to tell me that’s a nu-metal song. It’s a sound unlike any Deftones song that’s come before it. A truly unique tune amidst their entire catalog.

Deftones performing at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion Aug 1, 2015.
This show left me legless as it rocked off the bottom part of my body.

It’s not as cohesive as previous efforts, as it will go from quiet anguish to truly jarring loud guitar work. It’s a bit of a wandering effort when that happens. It takes you out of the moment as you have to reconfigure your brains from being pleasantly attacked with Chino’s melodies to being punched in the face with huge guitar riffs. At times it’s a good thing. But it hurts the flow of the album overall.

This album shifts from being overly dependent on Stephen Carpenter’s guitar work to mixing in a lot more of Frank Delgado’s electronics work. The result is a dreamier quality to the songs than ever before, but it's also quite dark and sinister sounding. A beautiful nightmare, if you will.

I’ve been a huge Deftones fan from the beginning, and this album proves they still have it. They’re at the top their game once again. Though not as good as the previous Koi No Yokan (and it should go without saying, nothing will top their truly exquisite masterpiece, 2000’s White Pony), Gore continues the outstanding string of albums Deftones has produced. They show no signs of slowing down.

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