Written by: LF on 17/06/2016 14:34:13

Since I first got into metal, the atmospheric brand of alternative metal that Deftones make has remained some of my all round favorite music. This has been not least because of the unpredictability of it as well as the yearning and emotional singing of Chino Moreno who is still at least in my top 5 of vocalists. On "Gore", which is their eighth full-length album, the balance in the sound is tipped toward the dreamy, floating sections but the hard-hitting ferociousness that has always been a trademark for them is still heavily present as the foundation of the songs.

Initially, we're treated to a couple of songs that are sure to be included on the band's upcoming tours, most notably album highlight "Prayers/Triangles" that is one of the best songs here at keeping a dynamic momentum going throughout as well as presenting us with one of the most memorable and heart-tugging choruses of the release. As usual, Moreno's vocals are constantly echoing and intertwining with the instruments, laden with filtering and distorting effects that gives a removed sense of distance. Every song on this album seems to feature a signature melody or strong riff that sets it apart in one's memory but the first half takes the prize when it comes to songs that never sound like they're stalling or becoming too similar.

"Doomed User" is another early highlight and one of the more frantic songs despite its slow tempo, not least impressing in the winding chorus melody and its heavy circling guitars in the verses. "Acid Hologram" is another song that merits a mention as it's one of the darkest songs here and has a weird allure in its dragging tempo and striking melody that sounds constantly off in a very unnerving way. As song number four, "Hearts/Wires" sets an intermediate stop to the forward-striving energy of the songs presented so far and it leads us on with a relatively calm one and a half minute guitar lead-in before the melancholic song really kicks off.

There's a certain traceable positivity in the sound of many of the other songs on the album, not least in the introductory riff of "Pittura Infamante", the uplifting chorus of "Xenon", the general upwards striving direction of "(L)MIRL", and especially the soaring album ender "Rubicon" with its chorus' haunting chord progression. These songs give the album a certain uncomplicated feeling as we ascend to a more airy sound. This vibe is sort of echoed in songs that are not especially unpredictable or surprisingly structured and it makes the album as a unity feel curiously safe.

That being said, of course the band are still pushing their sound into new territory with an even bigger focus on integrating the atmospheric parts as well as a more electronically based sound evident to varying degrees across the songs. As such, they're still being the progressive and experimental force that they always have - the individual songs are just not all as remarkable or convincing as one could have hoped for. Still, the music of Deftones is of a kind that is very good at slowly creeping closer to its listener for every listen, and there's no doubt that this is a record that is going to stay in my rotation for a while to come.


Download: Prayers/Triangles, Doomed User, Hearts/Wires
For The Fans Of: Team Sleep, Incubus, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Fightstar

Release date 08.04.2016
Reprise Records

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