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Album Review: Gore by Deftones

Deftones release their eighth studio album Gore on 8th April. They’re a band that needs no introduction, if you’re unfamiliar then this isn’t the website for you. For the last 21 years the band have continually pushed their boundaries and with each album offered something different. Without Adrenaline (1995) this website wouldn’t exist and White Pony (2000) could well be considered one of the most important albums in my life.

To have a band as urgent and engaging as the Deftones is rare and with Gore the band deliver another album that grabs you from the opening chords and never lets go. Here you’ll find some of the most devastatingly heavy and compelling Deftones tracks alongside some of their most dynamically ambitious and expansive tracks. With Gore the band yet again take their brand of metal, tear it up and produce something fresh, enthralling and utterly superb.

Lead single and opener ‘Prayers / Triangles’ sees the band at their most visceral, Chino Moreno’s vocal scorches over Stephen Carpenter’s massive riffs with the panache you’ve come to expect. It’s the track most easily identified as Deftones and acts at easing you into the album. ‘Acid Hologram’ shows the versatility of Moreno’s vocal as it turns the track from infectious hooks into a slugging heavy beast. Naturally the craftsmanship of Carpenter and drummer Abe Cunningham reinforce this.

Both ‘Doomed User’ and ‘Geometric Headdress’ prove that this is the Deftones at the very top of their game. The former contains some the heaviest and most blistering guitar parts committed to record by the band while also being one of their most instantaneous tracks. The latter, adds a sinister edge and has a bigger more expansive feel. It sees the band rocketing towards post metal territory albeit with a distinctive Deftones twang. ‘Hearts/Wires’ packs a punch in a new and different way; Carpenter’s soaring guitars that open the track are chillingly beautiful before the track breaks down into a gentle yet menacing number. It makes the sporadic explosions of heavy riffs and visceral vocal even more powerful. It’s a track that feels so full of emotion that it blows you away.

‘Pittura Infamante’ has hallmarks of a bastardised and heavy version of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins lurking just below the surface before ‘Xenon’ sees the band encroaching upon their most ambitious work veering from chugging riffs to soaring dreamlike sections. ‘(L)MIRL’ is a bit of a slow burner that after unconvincing beginnings develops into an exceptionally strong track, the crescendo towards the end shows the depth and power of the band. It sits in stark contrast to the title track which throws out pummelling riffs between phenomenal drumming and brief respites.  It’s the most challenging and powerful track on the album. ‘Phantom Bride’ contains guitar work from Alice In Chains main Jerry Cantrell, as the grunge tones duel with Carpenter’s more abrasive metal style it creates a unique and utterly compelling soundscape. Album closer ‘Rubicon’ sees the band excelling in a barrage of riffs and emotionally wrought vocals; it’s the best closer since ‘Pink Maggit’ and not that far removed.

Gore is the Deftones pushing their boundaries and trying something a little different while still retaining all their best parts. They left their contemporaries in their wake a long time ago and this album further entrenches Deftones as the best modern day metal band. It will take something truly brilliant to better this.

AD Rating 9.75/10

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