As time elapses, it becomes more evident that change is necessary. With all walks of life, this brings in new inspirations, new promises, new hopes and dreams. Change is what helps shape the world to fit the current state, whether it is for better or worse. In the music world, however, change is considered taboo, to an extent. People enjoy their music and want it the way they like it, and sometimes that means staying to certain tropes that become familiar. While this is not an unwarranted notion, it grows tiresome when artists continue to pass the years by releasing the same album 5 more times. While others continue to tread down the path of monotony, there are those that forge their own paths and decide to take the road less explored, one they might not be all too familiar with yet. Deftones have proven that they can evolve over the years, and listening to Adrenaline and trying to compare it to Koi No Yokan would be like comparing apples and oranges. They are one of very few bands that can successfully explore new terrain with no consequence. Such is the case with Gore, which is a step in a very different direction.
If the three singles were any indication, the band decided to step into a new door with both feet. They have been experimenting with softer sounds for a few albums now, with songs like “Sex Tape” and “Cherry Waves” being examples of the band leaning towards the more melodic and ethereal end of the spectrum. Clearly there was some influence from vocalist Chino Moreno, as they band weaves traces of his side project with Crosses into their own music. “(L)MIRL” is a perfect example, featuring a main riff based on a bass lick that makes the song sound meaty. The guitars act as an accompanying instrument more than ever on this album, with each song showing Stephen Carpenter’s excellent writing abilities. Where he would normally put guitar riffs he places small atmospheric sections, little traces of few guitar notes replaced by larger-than-life chords.
The depth to this album is beyond anything Deftones have ever created before, and will definitely require multiple listening sessions in order to fully understand the true extent of each song. Every track has it’s own small things that make them stand out, and you cannot fully understand everything until you cycle through the record a good amount of times. While it might be harder to digest, it tastes far more satisfying. The band did not abandon their heavy side in full, however. The title track is among the coolest songs they’ve made, and the outro riff to “Phantom Bride” over Jerry Cantrell’s guest solo is among the catchiest things they have ever written as a band. While this album has been surrounded by chatter due to Chino and Steph’s comments about how Steph didn’t really enjoy making it, it feels as though the band are connected as one unit, particularly Frank Delgado, who’s presence can be felt more than ever before. It always felt as though, at times, how was the odd man out, but he really shines on this record with his added samples and synths.
It must be said, however, that this album should come with a large disclaimer. Some of you will not like this record. That much is certain. Many fans that enjoy their heavier works will be put off by the band’s foray into softer territory. There will also be fans that simply do not get what Deftones were going for with this release and will simply ignore it and just listen to their singles. This album is not as easily accessible as Around The Fur or even White Pony is, nor is it as all-encompassing as Saturday Night Wrist. Gore is an experiment with Deftones’ fans to see if they’re really committed and willing to accept change. Whether or not they choose to is ultimately up to them, but at the end of the day, history points us to the thought that they will.
Perhaps it’s because of the legacy the band will leave behind, but at this point the band could have phoned it in and made another Diamond Eyes and everyone would eat it up. While it would not be upsetting, it would not be fair, either. Gore proves that Deftones do not feel comfortable in the shell of what they used to be, and that they have a pure need and commitment to explore and experiment with different sounds, techniques, and ways of writing music. From start to finish, Gore feels like something of happenstance, where the band recorded some experimental demos that were never meant to see the light of day but got leaked somehow. These songs are a portrait of where Deftones stand as a band in 2016, and quite frankly, they’re standing as high as they ever have, if not further above.
Deftones’s Gore gets…