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Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

Deftones GoreDeftones have been on a bit of a roller coaster the past decade or so. The band emerged in the nu-metal scene in the mid 90s, but around the turn of the century they began to branch out into more sonically adventurous directions, transforming their already unique sound into something one of a kind, and making every album a stepping stone for their natural progression. 2012’s Koi No Yokan saw the band receive an exorberant amount of attention in the media, and rightly so, as the album was nothing short of an accomplishment in many regards.

The four years in between albums hasn’t been quiet, though: the band has toured extensively since their previous release, and frontman Chino Moreno has released material with his other projects Crosses, Palms, and Team Sleep, all the while Gore was being written. Recording started as early as 2014, as well (with the drums being completed at least a year ago) and numerous delays kept pushing back the album from its originally planned September release. By the sound of it, however, Gore seems to have been worth all the trouble on the band’s end, as well as the fans’ end for waiting so long for it.

Deftones 2016Gore is by no means perfect, but what Deftones gets right (the majority of the album, in fact) is the closest the band has ever gotten to the definition of “perfect” thus far. Melodically satisfying and impressive, the band managed to keep the revolving door on their genres moving and in turn have found a sound that makes so much sense for them.

Gore takes cues from many post-metal acts, something Moreno seems to have grown fond of over the past few years. That’s not to say the band sticks to the genre exclusively, as they manage to fit into their safely-labeled “alternative metal” sound. Hooking the listener right from the get-go, “Prayers/Triangles” has received an extensive amount of radio play already, and rightly so, as it’s just a stupidly catchy song with an even more impressive layering of sound and melodies.

Immediately following the opening track, though, comes “Acid Hologram,” a much slower and less upbeat song. The cathartic, doomy riffs and bends are still sung over by Moreno’s sleepy voice, as things continue to escalate in an upward spiral. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter is still very much present on this album, and despite all he had said about having a hard time getting into the album, he is very much a force of nature here, articulately picking out the right notes for each riff to utmost perfection.

Deftones 2016 2Deftones are still making use of 8 string guitars as well, something “Doomed User” reminds you of instantly. Mid-tempo and driving, the band employs the lower, bassier notes to their whim, using the apocalyptic sound to their advantage. This proves to be a winning formula (Something many bands should take note of, actually) as they bring it back on the title track, changing it up between a lower-dynamic, tension building verse, only to explode with chunky guitar and bass riffs.

In contrast, the album takes a slower, melodic spin afterwards with “Phantom Bride,” a song in which you could argue being one of the best songs the band has written yet. Accompanied by guitar work from Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains, the song is screaming to be played live in some capacity.

Deftones 2016 3Gore excels in so many different aspects, that it’s impossible to list everything all at once that works. However, the sin the album commits would normally be passable, if it weren’t over three tracks. The middle of the album, following “Hearts/Wires” and stopping at the title track, is completely not up to the standard the rest of the album creates. While they fit into the narrative of the album, as well as the style it so beautifully has created, they fail to incite a response at all. They’re either destined to grow as you repeatedly listen to the album, or serve mainly as filler in between everything else.

Even still, the gravity of what works on Gore almost makes up for this lull in the middle of the album. Deftones have crafted another remarkable album here, and not only is it rewarding for the long wait, but entirely satisfying. Uncomparable to their previous work, yet so distinctly themselves, Gore seems to be paving a way for countless new opportunities for the band, and if it means waiting four more years for another album of this quality, then fans should be more than excited for what the band is now capable of.

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