For Fans Of
Ah, Deftones. The sonic moulders of all that is beautiful and ugly in the rock and metal world are back for the eighth round. The harsh screaming and up-front emotional crooning of Chino Moreno has always been at odds with the thick bass lines and heavy guitars of their music, all of which are backed up by the tight and pristine drumming of Abe Cunningham, who is just the personification of the word ‘groove’. It’s this sonic mixture that has helped the contemporary icons captivate so many fans the world over throughout their career and also remain so relevant in today’s often fickle music climate. That, and the fact that this band has written some absolutely killer songs throughout, which always helps.
This may be a controversial thing to say but this writer doesn’t think the band has released their best album yet (fight me). ‘Diamond Eyes’, ‘White Pony’ ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘Koi No Yokan’ are all very good albums, yes, but not one of them feels like the indisputable best of what this NorCal lads can truly offer up. So, you’re probably asking yourself, “Is this new record the best they’ve got or not? Fucking tell me now, Alex?!”
Okay, we will end your limbo-like suffering: ‘Gore’ is NOT the pinnacle of what Deftones’ music can be. Sadly, it’s an album littered with a handful of songs that are, well, just fine. Songs like ‘Doomed User‘, ‘Xenon‘, ‘Geometric Headdress‘, ‘Acid Hologram‘, and ‘(L)MIRL‘, all of which tend to lean toward the heavy side of things, are okay. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but they sorely lack the energy and drive that a lot of the band’s other material contains, only just getting the job done. Oh, and then there is ‘Pittura Infamante‘, which is the very definition of bland.
However, usually, the best songs off of a Deftones record are not the straight-up heavy belters. Songs like ‘Digital Bath‘ and ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)‘ from ‘White Pony‘ or ‘Entombed‘ and ‘What Happened To You?‘ from ‘Koi No Yokan,’ for instance. That is also the case here. The chilling soundscape of ‘Hearts/Wires‘, the relaxed and wondrous ‘Phantom Bride‘, which actually features Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell ripping some great guitar parts on it, as well as the driving and spine-tinglingly climactic ‘Rubicon‘, are the main if only, highlights of ‘Gore‘.
Though to be fair, the title track is easily one of the heavier songs available and it is an absolute jam, showing just how well Deftones can blend their sounds and create their own brand of melody and brutality. It’s like the new-age ‘Hexagram‘ and that is only ever a good thing. Furthermore, the record’s opening song and coincidentally its first single, ‘Prayers/Triangles‘, also gets an honorable mention, as not only is it a bloody gem like the eponymous track, it is equally a grand example of the band’s musical dexterity.
‘Gore’ isn’t a bad record, but it isn’t good either, and compared to the band’s pedigree, it runs the risk of being forgotten over time by a majority of die-hard fans and casual Deftones listeners. Perhaps the most annoying thing about this new record is knowing that for the next year or two while they tour on this album cycle, a decent amount of these new songs will be shuffled into the band’s current setlist; thus replacing the older and vastly better songs Deftones have created, which is a damn shame. Half is killer, half is filler, making for an extremely mediocre record. Oh, and calm down ye rabid ‘Tones fans about the release of ‘Eros’, if we wanted a handful of demos and unfinished songs we’d just go and troll through Sophie’s Floorboard.
2. Acid Hologram
3. Doomed User
4. Geometric Headdress
6. Pittura Infamante
10. Phantom Bride (feat. Jerry Cantrell)