Gore - Deftones
By Benjamin Irons
The eighth instalment in the Deftones' discography, Gore offers listeners - and fans alike - a fairly dissimilar perspective of the Sacramento quintet. While Gore attempts to dispense hints of a conventional Deftones sound (and does successfully in parts), this latest release personally doesn't deliver on quite the scale it promised.
The album leads with "Prayers/Triangles", a personal favourite on the album, mainly because its one of the few tracks on the record that are actually a pleasant listen. Straight off the clean-chorus guitar picking at the start of the track, along with the traditional loud/quiet dynamic in the chorus provided by Steph on lead, there are hints of Koi No Yokan(2012), which I can honestly say gave me confidence that the rest of the record would deliver at the same sort of feet. Wrong. Well, maybe "wrong" is a bit of a strong word to use. I think "underwhelmed" is something more appropriate. "Acid Hologram" follows. Though adhering to a grungier genre style through the sludgy guitar throughout, something I'm partial to, this was quite a chore to listen to.
"Doomed User" exhibited the same sort of style heard in "Acid Hologram". Those typically muddy guitar riffs from Steph's redundantly-stringed guitar make for a good listen. Chino's vocals however seem somewhat strained in parts, something I feel has been present from Saturday Night Wrist (2006) onwards. "Geometric Headdress" continues that familiar moody element to it, until the chorus where, to me, it seems as though there was a shortage of ideas as to how they could tie in a softer, more melodious section; an aspect which I feel dragged the song down a touch. Now, despite the lengthy intro to "Hearts/Wires", it becomes a necessary feature to a rather anthemic number on the album. Again, the loud/quiet dynamic fits this particular track the best and had me bobbing my head and swaying my cigarette lighter from left to right throughout. Very rarely will we get a track as slow as this, taking into account the raw energy that the Deftones have been associated with. But they're known for demonstrating a knack for not conforming to one particular style in their songs, so it's no surprise that they will offer something other than a full-throttle head-banger.
The album became a bit of a burden on my ears when listening to the three tracks thats followed: "Pittura Infamante", "Xenon" and "(L)mirl". This lay in the fact that they sounded all a bit samey. Usually, that isn't a bad thing considering the commendable talent surrounding their song writing abilities. But these three tracks were extremely lackluster, largely because they didn't flow as well as any of the others. Though there were elements of the sort of spacey, experimental arrangement we saw in their previous title, the final product was something fairly distant to their already impressive catalogue of material. Title track "Gore" on the other hand manifested their recognised amalgamation of warped melodies and screams upon a foundation of swampy bass and guitar.
Although "Phantom Bride" infused the same sort of elements seen in "(L)mirl", the vocal harmonies, backed by a foundation laid by Abe's tendency to smash his snare and cymbals alike, the song became bearable. And while there is evidence of pain in Chino's lyric's to "Rubicon" - "What I wake moaning... This body aches" - it, fittingly, makes for a climatic end to an album of mixed emotions.
With Deftones being one of my favourite bands, I found it to be a rather strenuous task taking a critical stance on their work, with an ever-present feeling of foreign uncertainty - something I never thought I'd have to admit with a record of theirs. The future therefore, subjectively of course, feels a little uncertain, with the impending sense that they'll evade their ever-present compromise and head into a more distracted, automated future.