Alt-metal giants Deftones widen their uncharted path with the heavier, moodier OhmsScott Morrowon September 25, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Ohms (Reprise) is the new ninth album from alt-metal giants Deftones, whose 25 years of boundary-blurring music have inspired a generation of bands. Announced just weeks before its September release, the ten-track offering in many ways represents a return to form, starting with the band’s decision to work with Terry Date, who produced their classic first four LPs in the late 90s and early 2000s. Deftones’ previous album, 2016’s Gore, was spearheaded creatively by front man Chino Moreno, who ventured a little further into atmospheric postrock than the group ever had. On Ohms, Moreno took a step back to allow more direction from guitarist Stephen Carpenter and drummer Abe Cunningham, which has led to a noticeable shift in tone. The new record retains the blend of styles that’s made Deftones an anomaly in metal, but it’s considerably more aggressive than Gore and even summons some spooky vibes. Carpenter employs a nine-string guitar for the first time on Ohms, and he displays its range on “Pompeji”–his beautiful clean-channel melody, accented with pick-slide effects and reverbed seagull samples, pays off with a simple, deep groove and a two-note chorus riff before the song culminates in a somber synth outro. Lead track and second single “Genesis” similarly swirls together disparate elements: downcast, echo-drenched guitar, bludgeoning riffs, toneful accents, syncopated beats, and Moreno’s alternately screamy and sensual vocals. Those seagulls aren’t the only new sound the band introduces either–elsewhere you get glistening keys, bits of thrash, and reverberating finger snaps. While Ohms doesn’t chart a new direction for Deftones, it widens the band’s uncharted path. v

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