But it’s no yoga session
There’s a legacy that comes with Sacramento’s Deftones—one that for some, transcends their music influence, with frontman Chino Moreno partially serving as Brown representation within rock and metal. From a music standpoint, though, the Deftones are also considerably distinguished in their stylistic approach and song structure. Moreno and lead guitarist Stephen Carpenter know how to exchange with each other well, pairing Moreno’s drony and despair-ridden vocals with Carpenter’s fairly assaulting style of riffing.
Everything about the Deftones is polarizing, from the stylistic opposition they incorporate to their overall reception as a band—people either love them or people absolutely hate them. Either way, that’s not something they’re necessarily concerned with, as their latest album Ohms sees them stray further from their stricken balance between dissonance and delicacy. Instead, they go all-in on their definition of harshness. Fans of their harder side will find satisfaction, while appreciators of their softer one may be a little left in the lurch.
That’s not to say that there isn’t that characteristic somberness that lingers within everything the Deftones do. Tracks like “This Link Is Dead” and “Pompeji” go head to head in their abrasive nature, the former trying to suck people in with screeching guitar pulses while the latter tries its hand at synthy gloom. It has even got some audio of flowing water as if to replicate some type of eased temperament. Album opener “Genesis” offers up one of the only other moments of respite with nearly 40 seconds of atmospheric electronic notes.
Outside of that, Ohms mostly offers “Rocket Skates” of Deftones’ past. Moreno and Carpenter have perfected equity among what they both bring to the table—pained vocals and incredibly forceful riffs. Take the guitar lines on “Ceremony” for instance, in which Carpenter really goes off. Where all of this really shines is on probably the best track of the album—and most reminiscent of Diamond Eyes era Deftones— “The Spell of Mathematics.” Moreno’s screech bombards listeners like a flood at the top of the song, before fading into a misty background, never to return again. The track continues on in instrumental loud-quiet-loud play, breaking up the middle of the record emotionally.
In every sense, whether people find themselves a Deftones fan or not, Ohms is one of their most technically proficient yet. Of course they know how to play, but it’s these moments where they try experimenting with their harder sound that make the album of particular note in their discography.