Review: Deftones – Gore Album

18th April 2016 Off By Karl Maguire

More than 20 years after the release of their debut record, Sacramento metal band Deftones continue to evolve and experiment with the release of their eighth LP, Gore.

Far removed from their early nu-metal roots, Gore presents an intriguing amalgamation of influences from a wide range of genres, combining the ferocity of metal with post-rock ambience and soaring soundscapes.

The result is Deftones’ most mellow and experimental record to date – an opus which showcases the band’s versatility and transcendent appeal, yet one that is thoroughly recognisable as being a Deftones release.

Quite simply, Deftones are a band who refuse to rest on their laurels.

While lacking the consistent heaviness found in their earlier releases, Gore provides layers of heavy atmosphere and ambience, with tracks such as Geometric Headdress, Xenon and the beautiful, chill-inspiring Phantom Bride taking listeners on a visceral journey of emotion. And while Gore tends to veer towards darker vibes and themes, the soothing voice of frontman Chino Moreno provides a sense of hope through the melancholy that pierces the eleven tracks.

That’s not to say that Gore is devoid of any heaviness though. Doomed User and the title track feature frantic vocals, punchy, meaty riffs and a pounding rhythm section while incorporating the heavy/soft dynamics the band has come to be known for.

While Gore may seem underwhelming at first, subsequent listens reveal the subtle nuances and layers which make the record so diverse and interesting, with something new discovered after each spin.

Closing with the majestic Rubicon – the title could be seen as a metaphor for Deftones’ career – Gore encapsulates all that makes the band one of the most exciting and important bands in the rock, metal, alternative, whatever you want to call it scene today. Flowing seamlessly, despite all of the styles it showcases, Gore shows a band at the pinnacle of their creativity, not content to regurgitate past efforts, resulting in a thought-provoking and thoroughly rewarding listen.