Deftones have cemented themselves as a top band in modern rock, with an evolving sound standing the test of time and trends.
Well Worth the Wait
After some delays and missed release dates due to mixing and other issues, Gore, the eighth studio album by Deftones, was released in April 2016. Let's take a look at the tracklist.
While lacking the bounce and groove of "Swerve City," the opening track off of the 2012 Koi No Yokan album, "Prayers/Triangles" does an effective job of foreshadowing things to come on Gore. Sergio Vega provides some great bass riffing in the verses, opening the door to the catchy and dynamic chorus. Mid-tempo is the name of the game here, and the overall feel of the track is that of something off of the Saturday Night Wrist album to me.
2. "Acid Hologram"
Up next is "Acid Hologram," with atmospheric verse sections, which has tension and then relaxes, a talent that Deftones express with skill and expertise. The song builds up, only to be deconstructed and torn down with a spoken word vocal bridge section with effects and crashing guitars which kind of reminds me of something off of the White Pony album. Cool experimental track with some samples and programming from Frank Delgado as well adding to the depth.
3. "Doomed User"
Track three brings the full-on shred of "Doomed User'," most likely the heaviest track on Gore. The verse riffs just chugs and churns, spewing palm-muted crunch guitar with extreme aggression. Vocalist Chino Moreno is in top form, matching the urgency of the riffs with ease. Nice catchy chorus, a softer bridge breakdown piece brings in another dynamic, only to be brought back up again in intensity. Awesome.
4. "Geometric Headdress"
For me, "Geometric Headdress" is where the Gore album really takes off. The riff sequence of this song is simply incredible, as it flows with the perfect amount of beauty and aggression. It morphs into a majestic chorus, wowing the listener into new and exciting soundscapes. This for sure is an album highlight, as it showcases the band working in perfect symmetry, weaving effortlessly through the parts.
Another Gore highlight is the moody ''Hearts/Wires.'' The beginning intro delves into Pink Floyd trance territories and immediately draws in the listener, then meanders into some mellow muted rhythm guitar with clean parts on top. This works well to build nice tension, with drummer Abe Cunningham laying back in the pocket, driving the groove with his superior feel and timing.
Once again, the name of the game is the crescendo, and the band builds again to an engaging chorus like many of the tracks on Gore. Chino's lyrics, which are often open to interpretation, seem relationship based on the chorus phrase.."Cut through this razor wire..and dine on your heart..mine till the end."
6. "Pittura Infamante"
A little less experimental, this has a more traditional verse/chorus songwriting structure. The bridge riff also features some single note rhythm guitar playing that goes into a more traditional rock style, of which you really don't hear the band do much of. A very cool upbeat track, and does a great job keeping the flow of Gore going in the right direction.
It was stated by the band that the songs were recorded with track listing order in mind, and it shows with well thought out song placement that gives the album a nice continuity while listening.
Clocking in at 3:16, ''Xenon'' is the shortest offering on Gore but provides a lot of bang for the buck. It opens up with some short programmed samples by Frank Delgado, giving way to a twisted heavy guitar riff complimented perfectly by drummer Abe's tribal beats on this.
The slightly unorthodox riffs give way to another shining chorus, which to me is one of the great achievements of Gore. One of the cooler little things I love about this track is the guitar pick slide that runs across the speakers in the mix at one point.
8. "(L) MIRL"
Probably the most ambitious song on Gore. Brooding verses open up to a euphoric chorus in the blink of an eye, taking the listener on an abrupt spectrum of emotions. It really works well and feels seamless with a natural flow. The epic chorus parts give me a Failure vibe on this one, with a touch of ''Minerva'' threw in. This is a great song for viewing long distance sightscapes, or for some quick inspiration when needed.
Here we have the album's title track, ''Gore." This is one of the more complex songs, which features some of Chino's most extreme vocals on the album, with the end screams perhaps the most chilling on Gore. The bottom end bass sounds on this song are incredible too with bassist Sergio Vega really locking in. I am a big Sergio fan, all the way back from his days in the post-hardcore band, Quicksand.
Another Abe standout drum track on this as well, locking in on all the changes with ease. The slow plodding breakdown at the end is just epic and showcases the heavier side of Deftones.
10. "Phantom Bride"
''Phantom Bride'' is yet another highlight track, on an album full of stellar material. Here is without a doubt one of the softest songs on the album, but still chock full of power. Chino's yearning vocals fit perfectly with the ethereal sounds of this song, and together he and the band float magically through the speakers, reaching and soaring through beautiful highs.
Another treat on this track is the guest guitar solos from Jerry Cantrell, of Alice In Chains fame. The notes are absolutely amazing, providing a feel that absolutely completes the track. Outstanding.
''Rubicon'' seems to be quickly developing into a fan favorite, and it is easy to see why. Yet another catchy, powerful chorus here, and it does a great job as a closer with its positive vibe thing that Deftones do so well. In spite of band member Stephen Carpenters displeasure with the writing process that has been on display in the media at the time of release, the band seems as locked in as ever on Gore.
Thoughts on Gore
The progression of Deftones is an awesome thing and is something that I love being a part of. The band never repeats an album and is always progressing into new territories. Gore does not stray from this. Gore is an amazingly deep and complex album and will give new fans and old material to grasp onto and dissect. It is a monster of an album and a modern day masterpiece and one that will be enjoyed for some time to come.
© 2016 The Write Life
Jermaine on September 09, 2016:
Sweet, well-thought breakdown of the album!!