Alternative metal band Deftones has returned with their eighth studio album titled “Gore.”
Prior to its release, the Sacramento natives decided to expand into a more experimental and melodic type of sound — rather than their usual heavy-guitar sound — combined with the melodic vocals of lead singer Chino Moreno.
This did not go without tension between the band members, as guitarist Stephen Carpenter was not a fan of the path the band’s sound was taking. Carpenter felt that the sound of “Gore” was catered toward what Moreno wanted, focusing more on his vocals rather than the band’s sound as a whole, which is what many fans and critics have come to praise Deftones for.
This is evident in their first single “Prayers / Triangles,” which goes from a soft verse to a metal-like chorus and bridge. “Prayers / Triangles” heavily focuses on Moreno’s vocal range, from a melodic singing to a haunting scream. However, in the second single “Doomed User,” Carpenter, combining with the high pitch screams of Moreno, begins immediately with a heavy guitar riff. Arguably the heaviest song of the album, this single is the epitome of what the band’s sound is about, which may lead fans to question what exactly Carpenter felt was wrong with the sound. The third pre-release single “Hearts/Wires” begins with a minute-long interlude that explores the sound of Frank Delgado’s keyboard and Carpenter’s softer guitar work. We are finally introduced to Moreno’s vocals, with the standout chorus, “Cut through this razor wire and dine on your heart mine ‘til the end.” The track is a great combination of disturbing-yet-spine-chilling sound.
The album’s eight remaining tracks stand out more than any of the early singles. Songs like “Acid Hologram,” “Geometric Headdress” and “Gore” show the vocal focus Carpenter was talking about. The sounds of these songs are very bizarre, but it leaves an incredible impression. The album’s tenth traack “Phantom Bride” features Jerry Cantrell, lead guitarist of grunge rock band Alice in Chains. Cantrell delivers a beautiful guitar solo halfway through the song, which continues through the rest of the song. Although a very calm song, the last fifty seconds of the track ends with one of the doomiest breakdowns of any Deftones songs to date.The album concludes with “Rubicon,” which steps into a more familiar Deftones sound. Bassist Sergio Vega continues to improve, shining on tracks like “Prayers / Triangles,” “Xenon,” “(L)MIRL” and “Phantom Bride.” Vega’s bass work did not show much promise on previous albums “Diamond Eyes” and “Koi No Yokan,” most likely due to being the replacement to the late original bassist Chi Cheng. Vega’s sound was a pleasant surprise — it shows how much he can assist in Deftones’ sound.
Deftones focused more on trying a new sound while not strolling too far away from their roots, and it makes “Gore” an incredible experience. It is engaging, haunting and arguably one of the group’s greatest releases. It is an excellent follow up to their previous album “Koi No Yokan,” and after twenty-five years, Deftones still knows how to stay fresh and relevant with each new release.