Deftones adjusts their metal sound on eighth album

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Gore finds success in its mellow moments, drawing in the listener so Deftones can preach its haunting message about the struggles of life.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Reprise Records

Although the genre may often go unrecognized, metal is currently one of the most expansive and experimental genres music has to offer, and Deftones only further the adventure with their newest release Gore.

In 1995, Deftones debuted their heavy nu-metal sound with Adrenaline, but based solely off that album, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the band today. Placing heavy emphasis on their combination of heavy riffs with atmospheric guitar and bass sounds, the band has constantly experimented with their sound to ensure a fresh listen with each of their eight albums. Gore, released Friday, is no exception, with the band embracing longer hypnotic moments to create a shoegaze effect.

This new genre, commonly known as post-metal, attempts to combine shoegaze rock with experimental metal, avoiding the common metal conventions such as screeching vocals and incessant guitar melodies most artists are familiar with. 

For listeners looking for an introduction to metal, Gore certainly isn’t the entry point. Odd rhythmic patterns, such as the drumming on “Geometric Headdress,” make Gore a challenging album to listen to. In addition to these strange beats, every vocal moment from lead singer and guitarist Chino Moreno has a variety of heavy distortion effects on it, creating yet another obstacle for the listener.

However, these elements set the ground work for the dark undertones of the entire album, and once combined with the band’s quick changes in pace, Gore feels like an exciting roller coaster with its ups and downs, rather than a drag race to the finish line.

The album starts off with its first single “Prayers/Triangles,” which features an impressively strained vocal from Moreno, and “Acid Hologram” continues the up-beat mood. At the end of the album’s second track, tape noises kick in, creating an admittedly corny but fitting transition for a brand new attitude on “Doomed User.”

This is where Gore transitions from another metal album to a truly experimental and invigorating experience. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter goes up and down the fretboard with ease on this track as drummer Abe Cunningham draws in the listener with his off-kilter drumming, helping make this track stand out for all the right reasons.

The rest of the album is spent trying to match the energy created by “Doomed User,” and Deftones surprisingly succeed on several occasions. The record’s seventh track “Xenon,” sounds like it could be a great single, combing an anthem of a chorus as Moreno croons about the “writers of your fate.” The following song “(L)MIRL” dives even deeper into the Moreno’s subconscious, reflecting on a relationship gone bad with some of the moodiest moments on the entire project.

Gore certainly isn’t the most accessible Deftones album, but for fans willing to sit and commit themselves to an experience, every song grows in power with each listen. This record might have its fun and radio-worthy singles, but its depth is in the less advertised moments.

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  • Gore
  • Genre: Post-metal
  • Tracks: 11
  • Rating: 8/10