THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Drama, rage and lots and lots of heavy, heavy guitar riffs.
Deftones have built quite the career on the tension that comes from the soaring drama that comes from singer Chino Moreno’s voice and the raging guitar work of Stephen Carpenter.
But on the Sacramento band’s eighth album, “Gore” (Warner Bros.), Deftones take this fascinating battle to the next level.
The title track condenses the band’s artistic vision into a five-minute thrill ride, with Moreno bouncing between dreamy, dramatic vocals and shrieks of rage that ride over Carpenter’s fiery metal chords, Sergio Vega’s thunderous bass and Abe Cunningham’s delicate-to-bashing drumming. Frank Delgado’s synth flourishes only add to the power of shifting dynamics.
Deftones use all sorts of genres to keep the tension alive. The ’80s metal riffs and Moreno’s straightforward delivery on “Hearts/Wires” masks the darkness of the song’s lyrics about obsession. “Collect the wires and writhe in your heart,” Moreno sings plaintively. “Writhe till the end.”
But it’s a testament to how engaging Moreno’s voice can be that he can make such dark topics sound enticing. In “Prayers/Triangles,” the album’s first single, he declares, “There’s a new strange godless demon awake inside me,” but, like most of “Gore,” you can’t help but wonder what comes next.