Of course, the question was, ‘Will this album follow 2016’s “Gore’ with a strong left-turn into the dreaded experimental tall grass, where others have so commonly lost their bearings? ” In short, the answer is, ‘No‘! Not by a long-shot!
In typical enigmatic behaviour, Deftones have been off the radar for the last 2 years, crafting 10 remarkable compositions for ‘Ohms‘. While previous opus ‘Gore‘  seemed somewhat extemporaneous in places, resulting in divided opinions, fans can take solace in the fact that ‘Ohms‘ ticks all the boxes; while creating some of its very own.
Opening with an eerie synth intro on the recently-released second single/video, ‘Genesis‘ [the first being title-track ‘Ohms‘] it’s only a matter of seconds before all concerns of this being a lacklustre offering; are quickly put to rest.
Stephen Carpenter’s guitar tone ignites the stick of dynamite that is ‘Ohms‘ from the get-go, driving home a bombastic, punchy, warm and perfectly visceral sound, courtesy of long-time Deftones producer, Terry Date, [who was drafted back after a 10-year absence] making this, his first project with the band since the now infamous ‘Eros‘. An album which was completed and shelved due to the tragic passing of original bassist, Chi Cheng.
Date’s deep knowledge of a more ‘traditional Deftones‘ is clearly abundant throughout, as the bands’ more identifiable mix is blossoming right before our ears; with each passing track.
Case in point, the albums second track, ‘Ceremony‘ is very much led by Chino’s hypnotic vocal delivery, twinned with Sergio [Vega, bass] and Abe [Cunningham, drums] piledriving a pulsing root that allows Carpenter to decorate with his trademark riffing. This will no doubt please fans of ‘Around the Fur‘ and ‘White Pony‘ when referencing the balance of sound on the bands’ discography.
The sharp teeth of ‘Urantia‘ and the up-tempo pulse of ‘Error‘ [an essential addition for their live setlist] come chomping at the heels, thanks to the ‘heft‘ of Carpenter’s chugging riffs, which ascends and descends among the architecture of Vega/Cunningham’s rhythm section. Beautiful stuff indeed.
As we hit the mid-way mark, ‘The Spell of Mathematics‘ opens with a low-end rambunctious intro, before Chino sings and screams a dreamy, melancholic melody that at times, echos the tone and delivery of one Robert Smith [The Cure].
Following that, is the masterfully-crafted, ‘Pompeji‘/’This Link is Dead‘. Two tracks that transition into one, displaying the unique poetic transportation abilities of Moreno, who in tandem with the band, manage to whisk the listener away to abandoned beaches/landscapes [seaguls included], all the while, allowing the arrangement to feel lightweight at times, but with unexpected anchoring twists and turns, before a delicate and utterly heart-aching synth outro, that bridges into the walloping force of ‘This Link is Dead‘.
The next offering is one of the albums finest moments. ‘Radiant City‘ is bursting with true Deftones personality. A gritty low-end bass line opens up, displaying the band in full ‘beast-mode‘. Between Cunningham’s drum-fills, twinned with Carpenter’s rapid, right hand and the hair-raising synths from Delgado, this is Deftones pumping on all cylinders and it’s fucking glorious.
Second-to-last offering, ‘Headless‘, begins with an almost soundscape feel, before the Carpenter/Cunnighman/Vega chug comes to life, resulting in a track that wouldn’t be out of place on ‘White Pony‘.
Tieing off the album is the title track and also the first single to be released in August. In retrospect, I had hoped that the ‘Ohms‘ single would be an accurate indication as to the quality of this album and I can safely say, it most definitely was.
In fact, I would go as far as to confirm that this album managed to surpass my high expectations. Deftones have most definitely raised the bar with ‘Ohms‘. No doubt a recent pinnacle in their 32-year discography and sonic realignment towards the apex of their capabilities. Despise the global pandemic, Deftones 2020 is in rude health.
Tune into Overdrive.ie on Wednesday for a feature interview with Sergio Vega.
Pre-order your copy of ‘Ohms‘ here. Contact your local record store and get your hands on the limited gold pressing and other varients.