REPRISE RECORDS, 2016
When a band you love comes out with a new record, there can be a mix of both excitement and dread. Especially when the band has a long discography with more hits than misses.
GORE is the follow-up to 2012’s KOI NO YOKAN, an album I thought was good, but fell on the lower spectrum of Deftones records that I enjoyed. It felt more like a continuation of what the band was doing on there 2010 record DIAMOND EYES. But there were a few standout tracks on both those albums. And to be honest, GORE is lining up to be in the same spot as 2006’s SATURDAY NIGHT WRIST, my least favorite album of theirs.
I think the worst thing any work of art can be is mediocre. I’ve said this in regards to highly anticipated movies this year, and the first record I was genuinely excited about has proven to be just that.
I’ve always felt the band is at it’s best when it is showing the strengths of all of it’s band members. The heavy riffing of Stephen Carpenter, along with the grooves of former bassist Chi Cheng (that spot now filled with Sergio Vega), the quick, almost danceable beats of drummer Abe Cunningham, and finally the atmospheric/chaotic vocals of Chino Moreno. When one member’s style overtakes the rest of the album you end up with something that doesn’t quite feel like the band. Around the time they were working on SATURDAY NIGHT WRIST, Chino was involved with Team Sleep, a long time side-project. And I felt that album suffered as it felt he was more interested in writing material that sounded like that project.
GORE suffers from similar things. Moreno had just released in 2014, the debut album from his band Crosses. That is a fantastic record, but it’s great because it highlights the more ethereal, electronic elements that he is interested in. Crosses seems to have bled into the new record. The dynamic I always loved just isn’t here. And in fact the album’s best songs are it’s last three. Although, the track Phantom Bride, features an out of place appearance by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains. And again, those last three tracks (Gore, Phantom Bride, Rubicon) are really where I began to have any interest in the album. Doomed User is a clunker. And Prayers/Triangles, while a good Deftones song, is out of place as the opener. The worst thing for me is that, in all honesty, it was just a boring record. The first five songs don’t seem to be able to distinguish themselves from one another.
But in all honesty, like every other Deftones record, I’ll definitely give it a couple more spins and let it sink in. Who knows, a year from now I could be saying this was one of my favorite albums to come out this year. At the moment though, it’s just not clicking with me.
Here’s hoping that the band gets around to releasing the long-awaited “lost” record, and final appearance of Chi Cheng (R.I.P), of EROS now.