REVIEW: Deftones sustain their hot streak with ‘Gore’

defontes gore review

Artist: Deftones
Album: Gore
Genre: Rock, Metal
Label: Reprise Records

Many headlines were made in regards to the tensions within the Deftones camp and the creation of their eighth full-length, Gore. Most of the writing was done with guitarist Stephen Carpenter largely on the sidelines. They also switched things up in the producer’s seat, working with Matt Hyde this time around. As an outsider, one would have every right to be worried about this release.

Things kick off with a squall of feedback before going into “Prayers/Triangles,” a track that manages to run the gamut and capture both their melodic and aggressive sides as successfully as anything else in their discography. “Acid Hologram” offers some quieter hints of what to expect later while “Doomed User” is positively crushing.

It’s right around here that things take a turn for the spacey. Deftones have never been afraid to turn the volume down, often to fantastic effect. A big part about what is so jarring on this album is the number of relatively softer tracks all grouped together in the middle. This isn’t to say that all of these tracks are bereft of guitar, but Chino’s vocals seem to take center stage on those. That’s never a bad thing, as that’s one of the band’s best qualities, but fans who prefer things to register a little more on the Richter scale might be taken aback. Thankfully, the more ambient tracks aren’t mere clones of Moreno’s Team Sleep or Crosses projects; they are still largely rooted in the Deftones’ trademark sounds and vocals. This is something the band has been evolving toward, so it shouldn’t be completely alarming.

The title track starts off as if it’s going to continue the trend and soothe you into a puddle of goo, until the heavy guitars and screaming kick in. Almost as a reaction to the songs before it on the album, “Gore” ends with some of the most bloodcurdling shrieks Moreno has ever put forth. Carpenter is living proof that Meshuggah doesn’t have the market cornered on 8-string guitars. While his metal influence is used sparingly, when it is presented, it really stands out. “Phantom Bride” also features an oddity for Deftones: a slick little guitar lead that slithers its way through the song, courtesy of Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains.

As a listening experience, Gore acts like a roller coaster, starting off heavy, lightening up for awhile and then cranking up the volume again before ending on the aggressive, yet soaring “Rubicon.” It’s really a fitting way to end the album as it’s largely the sum of all that has come before it. This is one of those albums that seems to work best as a whole.

Deftones have been on a hot streak, which began with Diamond Eyes and carried on with Koi No Yokan. Gore keeps that streak burning. No matter what side of their sound you prefer, there is something here for you. Deftones are one of those rare bands that has been around for nearly three decades, always pushing their sound forward, never tethered to just one genre.

It’s not their most immediate release and may take a few listens to truly sink in, but once it does, Gore is very rewarding.

SCORE: 8/10

J.J. Ellis

J.J. Ellis hosts Decent Exposure Radio every Friday night on WXLV where he spins tunes (if it rocks, it's fair game) and shares interviews that he conducts.Whenever he isn't doing that, J.J. is a sketch comedy writer and occasional improviser.Lastly, he is the Allentown DVD Examiner where he watches and reviews things that come out to home video.
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