REVIEW: DEFTONES – “Gore”
During the 1990s, Nu-Metal was blowing up in a big way. Through the decade, the sound was more refined and took the world by storm by the early 2000s. Deftones was one of the bands who came into recognition in the early 90s, especially with their first couple of releases. Yet, they did not fit the template. The music was angry and in your face, but it was layered. It had depth and a certain sense of pain in it.
Their newest offering comes four years after their last release ‘Koi No Yokan’, which was very experimental. The passing of their bass guitarist, Chi Cheng has clearly affected the writing as the band themselves have said that ‘Gore’ is neither a happy record, nor is it angry. It is indeed moody. The guitars are huge and merciless on this record are only complimented by singer Chino Moreno’s wide range of vocal styles. It ranges from screams to melodic soft spoken melodies. The album opens with “Prayers/Triangles” which also happens to be the lead single from this record. It is powerful and spacey with a definitive narrative to it that just reels the listener in. Comparatively, the next track, “Acid Hologram” is a bit of a downer. “Geometric Headress” shares the same fate in terms of lack of exploration since “Doomed User” gives us an alternative entry into the gates of hell and it is all due to Stephen Carpenters low tuned guitar work.
I found “Hearts/Wires” to be the part two, to “Prayers/Triangles”. It is the longest song off the record, clocking in at five and a half minutes. I think it’s by far the most ambient post-rock inspired effort that Deftones have committed to tape. I think the landscape painted by the music lends to the depth and weight of the lyrical content. “Pittura Infamante” is an odd one but a good one. It is strangely uplifting but still has their signature restrictive quality that makes you feel some emotions are kept intentionally restrained. “Xenon” is a big shout out to their style from the 90s. I liked this one since it reminded me of the olden days.
“(L)MIRL” is another one of the moody-spacey rock song, with almost a meditative quality to it. It’s almost as if Chino is reaching into his soul for inspiration. The song shines due to the bass work done by Sergio Vega. This leads us into the title track “Gore” which opens up with Abe Cunningham interesting drum syncopation. I didn’t find too much to like about the title track but was all on board with the track that follows it, “Phantom Bride”, which sort of picks up where “(L)MIRL” left off. The record ends with “Rubicon” which in more than one way, sums up the record.
On a lot of these songs, Chino strives to match the intensity of the guitars and really delivers raspy vocal. This is a bit of hit or miss. While some may relate to some audiences, it may also drive some audiences away. That is a bit risky. To be honest, I think this is a very polarizing record. I liked it but I think it needs multiple listens to really let the album sink in. Having said that it is well written, artsy, experimental and ambitious. The production is solid, the writing is emotional and delivery honest.