Regular followers of this blog may have aleady caught the previous Deftones albums we've blogged, but if not, then click here to view them.As one can gather, we liked those albums. In fact, Deftones have been very good for the last few years or so. I'm not a massive fan but I can appreciate good music when I hear it. As has been already said in the past, they've certainly outgrown their nu-metal origins and became something more substantial. Whereas the likes of Limp Bizkit are content to squeeze themselves back into their baggy jeans and dust off the seven strings for another round of partying like it's the good old days when they were the flavour of the month (instead of being a guilty pleasure gateway band at the very least), Deftones managed to completely overhaul that and change into something more substantial. This is also the first album since former bassist Chi Cheng passed on, he died in 2013 of a heart attack. He'd not been well ever since a car crash in 2008 and had been in a semi-comatose state ever since. Bass duties were performed by Sergio Vega - who apparently used a six-string bass to give the band a bit more of a sonic range.
Following on from the excellent Koi No Yokan, this album has been described as not only more 'heady' than that record, but also 'not an angry album but neither a happy one'. There were descriptions of slight creative differences too, with certain band members describing the mood brought about by the music as 'hard to get into', but have then gone on to say that the tension brought about by the differences to have been a strength in itself.
Well, the first song "Prayers/Triangles" starts off as I'd expect. Swirling feedback before going into ambient passages with the ever-present vocalist Chino Moreno crooning over the top of it. The vocals are multi-layerd in places as well. It's a different type of opener - one that tries to establish a mood instead of drag you in and blitz you. Sure, things get loud during the chorus but it's always in a refined way. Second song "Acid Hologram" follows a similar format, except it's pretty much loud all the way through. Monster riffs in this song, verse and chorus. Vocal melodies are beautiful on this. "Doomed User" drops by with another monstrous selection of riffs, the main riff especially sounds like Godzilla twanging a massively thick elastic band. Things ease up towards the end but not for too long. It also seems like there is an off-kilter time signature for this song too. "Geometric Headdress" follows and seems to be getting more of a discordant thing going as although the riffs aren't as monstrous, there are still some great textures and soundscapes to enjoy. Vocals a bit softer too. "Hearts/Wires" starts off by sounding all ambient and stuff before turning into something totally unrelated to the previous mood, yet it works. Quiet verses and loud choruses, a familiar yet trustworthy format which somehow seems a tougher proposition on here, not sure why though. Definitely a good song and a worthy addition to this album. "Pittura Infamante" manages to restore the monster riffs to proceedings, Very uplifting song.
"Xenon" continues the uplift amid some excellent guitar work after opening with some electronic stuff and a quite amusing guitar piece. So far, we've had an album which has been both depressing and uplifting in equal measure. I find this particular song to be extremely uplifting. It is a short song though and it does that thing where it goes into the next song without letting you know. The next song is called "(L)MIRL" and is one of the depressing ones but we can't have it all. Quite the sombre tone on this one. Some canny riffs on it though. The title track "Gore" is a difficult beast to pin down. Seems to be differing time signatures all over the place on this thing. It's not too bad but they should have kept it simple, nothing wrong with that. A good idea which on this occasion, didn't work so well. An extended outro doesn't help proceedings either. We're now getting ready for the home stretch with "Phantom Bride", a song which has loud choruses and melodic verses. It's not bad. Good guitar solo too. More of a relaxing song, really. Sounds like it could be used for the end credits of a movie. Big riff towards the end which comes out of the blue. And as before, it segues into the final track without warning us! I hate it when they do that. "Rubicon" goes for the big noise intro to start the journey home. Quite a dramatic song too, certainly one which conveys a lot of emotion. A worthy way to close the album.
Well, there you have it, the latest album by Deftones. And I feel we have another winner. The songs are awesome and the production really suits them. The only thing I can find wrong with it is that the title track is a bit too much for this album and sounds out of place as well and there was a feeling that this was going to be a front-loaded album but luckily that wasn't the case. So whilst it's not as good as the awesome predecessor, it's a damn sight better than a lot of other things out there. It's not a party album (unless that party is tramadol and codeine - or so I have heard as I'd never do such things), but more of a relaxing, reflecting album, I guess. Either way, it's really good.
8 - Oh you have my attention, and maybe my money, time and heart.
Top Track: "Acid Hologram".
This album is available on iTunes.