Deftones are essentially the fine wine of their field. Musically, they’ve aged well. A lot has changed since the band’s emergence and their earliest records such as “Adrenaline”. Things are different from when they were lumped in as an outlier of the late 90s – early 00s Nu Metal movement with “Around The Fur” and the massive, cult classic success of “White Pony”. Things are even different following the initial wave of success and the strung out production of their self-titled record and “Saturday Night Wrist”. The band has, for all intents and purposes, hit a stride with their most recent three records “Diamond Eyes”, “Koi No Yokan”, and now “Gore”. They’ve found a sound that is both matured and organic.
Something that has always been great about this band is the unique tension between the musicians within. They all bring a notable element, a certain flavor that makes Deftones who they are as a band. This foundation was shaken back in 2008 when Chi Cheng (R.I.P.) was put into a coma and later passed away in 2013. He has been greatly missed ever since.
The most important point of musical tension in this lineup, however, is found between the band’s frontman Chino Moreno and guitarist Stephen Carpenter. This first became apparent when Chino started composing on “White Pony”. Chino brings the more melodic, ethereal, esoteric elements of the band forward while Stephen delivers the heavy, more metallic edge of the band. This is further exacerbated by the atmosphere and electronic elements added in by Frank Delgado. In reality, the way the entire band collectively goes about this balancing act while simultaneously making these elements cohesive is precisely what makes Deftones into Deftones.
“Gore” is no exception to this. In fact, the tension was even publicly exacerbated at a point when Stephen stated that he “didn’t want to play on the record” before the albums release. Afterwards, he certainly warmed to what would become “Gore” though, adding significant elements of his style into the mix. This paired with the rest of the bands input and nuance really caused them to produce a great, modern Deftones LP for us in 2016.
If one were to sonically compare this album to the band’s previous efforts, comparisons could be drawn between a few records. Most notably, it would probably fit in with the styles found on “Saturday Night Wrist”, “Koi No Yokan”, “Diamond Eyes” and even a bit of “Around The Fur”. But in the end, it can certainly stand on its own.
The entirety of the album could practically be played out as a single track. Every number transitions seamlessly into the next making for a fluid listening experience. Even so, the album seems to play out in peaks, if you will. It begins by hitting you with a batch of tracks including the two singles “Prayers / Triangles” and “Doomed User”. The record hits the first peak when it transitions to the third single “Hearts / Wires”, taking things to a whole new level. “Gore” does this once again as it passes the title track to hit the last two.
In fact, my personal favorite tracks from the album would have to be the final two numbers – “Phantom Bride” and “Rubicon”. “Phantom Bride” plays out smooth and sweet for the most part until it culminates in a devastating ending that marks as one of the heaviest sections on the entire album. But it may very well be the guest solo from Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell that steals the track, solidifying it as a classic from the band. “Rubicon”, on the other hand, is the kind of glorious, melodic, modern Deftones album ender that many people have always kind of hoped for. It’s really the point when the aforementioned “fine wine” effect hits hardest on this album. They couldn’t have ended this LP on much more of an epic, aurally textured note.
As well paced as this album is in theory, it also highlights the only real flaw with “Gore”. Surrounding these “peaks”, the listener may end up glazing over some tracks. Only on further listens did I really come to appreciate moments found on tracks such as “Geometric Headdress” and “(L)MIRL”. Without a doubt, every track on this album is good. Some just manage to stand out more than others while taking in the entirety of “Gore”. As with many albums in this world, the more you listen to this one, the better it gets.
Adding up all the factors, it’s safe to count “Gore” as a great album – maybe even a superb one. Though my opinion of this record may ultimately change as time goes on, I’m currently feeling a strong 8.5 to a light 9 out of 10 rating here. So let’s round it up. This latest addition to the Deftones discography is, not so surprisingly, worth giving a listen. As such, we’ve provided some streaming tracks up above for teeth and ears to be sunk into.
If you’d like to claim a copy of this album to call your own, you can head over to the band’s Merch Store where they have all kinds of great deals available. Also, keep in mind that Deftones will soon be on tour with the heavy hitting Code Orange. You can find more information on this tour by CLICKING HERE. Life is good.