Finding Deftones a fairly divisive group in the world of music, it maybe comes as no shock that I’m on the fence with the latest addition to a lengthy, varied and impressive catalogue of albums spanning almost thirty years.
Gore already had its fair – and possibly unfair – share of negative press in the lead up to its release. With word of Stephen Carpenter’s “difficulty” adapting to the songs being created and his personal approach being stated as akin to the “mindset of a serial killer” creating a bit of a storm. Honest truths of a man who’s seen his band change its skin more often than a snake or clever and cute PR? My guess is that it’s a mixture of both.
With the band politics pushed aside we can concentrate on the album content. There is no denying that this is a Deftones product – but I don’t feel excited by it like I did with recent release Koi No Yokan. Nor do I feel like I can instantly relate to it like I did with Around the Fur back in the day. I know it’s not a case of outgrowing the band or my musical tastes shifting as I still regularly line up my Deftones mega-playlist and hit shuffle to get me through the working week. There just seems to be something missing from their tried and tested formula.
it’s not all doom and gloom, and somewhat ironically, ‘Doomed User’ turns out to be a monster of a track. Filled to the brim with chunky riffs and showcasing Moreno’s much-heralded vocal stylings – which swiftly undulates between serene and chaotic – this track has fast become a favourite. The fact that it smacks of previous singles may be the big factor here. ‘Hearts / Wires’ is another that does its best to save the album from falling into the realm of bland-at-best. The switch-up in tone and volume throughout the song adds to the story portrayed by one of the world’s finest frontmen.
On the other hand we have the likes of ‘Rubicon’ and ‘Phantom Bride’ offering up some album filler (no killer) as if to extend the boredom that had climaxed ten minutes prior to tidy title track ‘Gore’, another redeeming factor on an album that doesn’t hit the mark when compared to past work.
I do get the feeling that with time and several more cover-to-cover listens my opinion may sway but as a new release, Gore just doesn’t award the instant gratification that was apparent on Koi No Yokan and Diamond Eyes. I do hold out hope that the epiphany I’ve wanted to have about this album, from the moment it was announced, is just around the corner.