deftones: "Gore" album review

Deftones are a force to be reckoned with.  The band have released seven amazing full-length album's (1995's debut "Adrenaline", 1997's "Around the Fur", 2000's "White Pony", 2003's self-titled record, 2006's "Saturday Night Wrist", 2010's "Diamond Eyes" and 2012's "Koi No Yokan") leading up to 2016's release of their much anticipated eighth full-length album "Gore".  Deftones are always evolving, managing to not get stuck in the genre of nu-metal from the late 90's-early 2000's.  Album after album delivering growth not just in music, but in lyrical content as well.  The progression of Deftones is something magnificent and they continue to do just that on "Gore".

The recording process for "Gore" was done throughout 2014 and 2015.  The majority of the music was recorded while front man Chino Moreno was on tour with his side-project band "††† (Crosses)".  When he fulfilled his touring obligations Moreno began writing and recording vocals at his home studio in Oregon only to reconvene with the band to re-record his vocals with Deftones in 2015.  What we're given is an 11-song journey that borders on heavy riffs and Moreno's signature screams to the other end of the spectrum with melodic, atmospheric tones perfectly complimented by Moreno's soft croon.  "Gore" manages to surpass 2012's "Koi No Yokan" with ease and serves as a worthy successor.  The end result is one of my favorite albums of 2016.

Songs like the album's opener "Prayers/Triangles" and "Hearts/Wires" really delve into atmospheric levels that truly transcend the listener into what Deftones created.  Alice in Chains' own Jerry Cantrell contributed to the track "Phantom Bride" adding his own signature guitar playing that makes it a standout track that demands your attention.  "Gore" as a whole is a tightrope walk of melodic purity to sharp aggressive tones.  You feel both sides try and take you.  There's a sense of tension and relief throughout this album.

I can't praise enough how tight knit the band sounds throughout the entire album.  From Abe Cunningham's intensely profound drumming to Stephen Carpenter's aggressively beautiful work on his 8-string guitar that truly pushes the boundaries of what guitars can do.  Frank Delgado on keyboards and sampling are often not recognized but he truly encapsulates Deftones ever evolving sound on every song, and his work on "Gore" is no exception.  Bassist Sergio Vega has been with the band since former bassist Chi Cheng suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008 (Cheng unfortunately passed away in 2013).  Cheng's shoes are big ones to fill but Vega has managed to incorporate his own style over the years that I believe Cheng would be proud of.  Of course there's lead singer Chino Moreno.  What can I say that hasn't been said already?  Moreno is honestly one of the greatest front men around and that's clear and present on "Gore".

I placed such high expectation and hope for "Gore" and the 4-year wait was well worth it and exceeded ALL expectations!  How Deftones manage to create such profound music that switches from beautiful to gritty on a dime always takes me aback and leaves me on the edge of my seat.  "Gore" stands not just as a great album, but also stands to be another great addition to Deftones already stellar catalog of music and easily one of my favorite albums of 2016.

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