ALBUM REVIEW: Deftones – Ohms
Photo Credit: Tamar Levine
What can be said about Deftones that hasn’t already been said? The Sacramento juggernauts have released album after album of quality alternative/nu-metal over the span of more than 25 years. Where their previous album, 2016’s Gore, sounded a little more subdued compared to the rest of their discography, their newest offering, Ohms, is clearly the more dynamic of the two. Part of it is probably down to guitarist Stephen Carpenter’s more detached involvement with Gore, but one can immediately tell when listening to this new record that this wasn’t the case here. In fact, it’s completely the opposite!
If there were two words that could summarise the new album, those would be “massive riffs”. We can happily say that Carpenter is as energised as ever, and thus Ohms finds the five members of Deftones firing on all cylinders, with drummer Abe Cunningham’s performance over the course of the ten-tracks being a notable standout. But as is the case with every one of their releases, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which makes for a punchy, dynamic and in-your-face collection of songs, which builds on everything they’ve done before.
Genesis, the latest single, starts the record off with Frank Delgado’s whirring synths, followed up by Carpenter’s White Pony/Diamond Eyes style of clean guitars, before switching gears and launching into the full track, with Chino Moreno’s screams welcoming everyone to the 46-minute journey that they are about to witness. His trademark style of ambiguous and impersonal lyricism returns, crooning words such as “So I’m leaving you tonight, it’s not fun here anymore” on second track Ceremony, or “I believe your love has placed a spell on me, I believe your love creates a space where we can breathe,” which comprise the chorus of The Spell of Mathematics.
Across these ten songs one can easily identify elements from all of their studio albums, with the most obvious ones being 2003’s Deftones, 2010’s Diamond Eyes, and 2012’s Koi No Yokan, but ultimately it becomes clear that Ohms is its own thing, being an entirely different beast compared to their other works. The only glaring omission that we could find was the lack of the signature atmospheric, chilled out song – the new equivalent of Digital Bath, Change (In the House of Flies), Beauty School, or Sextape. This does not mean that there aren’t any moments of this sort to be found on the album – not at all! There are quite a few of them scattered here and there, though, such as the synth (and seagull-sample filled) break in Pompeji (which harkens back to the ‘80s, and has a really strong Stranger Things vibe to it), or the outro to the aforementioned The Spell of Mathematics, replete with Moreno’s melodic hums, bassist Sergio Vega’s rumbling bassline, and finger snaps which end the track in a low-key fashion.
In a nutshell, as the latest album by Deftones, Ohms is a sonic punch that only solidifies the Sacramento gang as masters of their art. It constantly ebbs and flows, balancing melodic choruses with crushing guitars riffs and infectious rhythms which make you bob your head to their steady pacing – even more proof that when they work with producer Terry Date, the band strikes gold.
Standout Tracks: Ohms, Genesis, The Spell of Mathematics, Ceremony
For Fans Of: Deftones, Crosses, Team Sleep
Written by: Florin Petrut