Deftones – Ohms (Album Review)

Deftones – Ohms
Released: September 25th, 2020

Line up:

Chino Moreno | vocals / guitar
Sergio Vega | bass
Abe Cunningham | drums
Stephen Carpenter | guitars
Frank Delgado | Keyboards, Turntables, Samples

Online:

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Ohm’s Law is a formula used to calculate the relationship between voltage, current and resistance in an electrical circuit and is one of the most fundamental of laws for electrical theory. Generated by German Physicist Georg Ohm, the formula is used within all branches of electrical and electronic science still to this day. While this introduction may seem completely unconnected to one of the world’s most treasured alternative metal bands Deftones – there is logic behind the lunacy. Besides the vital detail that the Californian quintet have just released their ninth studio album entitled (you guessed it) Ohms, the same name as the measurement for electrical resistance and conductance; the entire prospect of Deftones working and existing via an essential force such as electricity does not at all seem far-fetched. As a matter of fact, it becomes exceedingly suiting.

If defined in simple terminology: “Voltage” is what makes electric charges move. It could be argued that it is chemistry that makes a band cohesively bond and form brilliance; however in Deftones’ case, maybe it is electricity moved by voltage. For example, arguably the quintet’s opus is White Pony – the album is currently celebrating it’s 20th anniversary and a remix version Black Stallion is to be released also to celebrate the landmark’s full-length. One of the most celebrated songs and singles from that record is ‘Digital Bath’ – a track which showcased a maturity musically the five-piece had undergone rather quickly since their early nu-metal roots; it is no secret that anything digital requires electricity and if the “Bath” element is viewed as not the physical bathing apparatus, but in actual fact, the overwhelming absorption of the digital element of our existence – it could be perceived that Deftones thrive on their electricity and create voltage when the recipe is correct.

Is it present on Ohms? Thankfully, the name and representation is done absolute justice. If there were to be comparisons or similarities to the wonderful White Pony or any of their earlier work, LP number nine has that strength and MORE. Opening track ‘Genesis’ has vocalist and occasional guitarist Chino Moreno wailing and screaming “Balance! Balance! Balance!” not to dissimilar to: “Shove it! Shove it! Shove it!” – surely that powerful phrasing and lyricism is a familiar and electrifying jolt?

The second track ‘Ceremony’, intriguingly the same title as Joy Division’s last ever song they wrote and recorded (Chino is a known fan of the post-punk iconic group and the track features a bridge section very inspired by the exemplary group) could act as a sequel to ‘Digital Bath‘ but conceivably, this song has the potential to be the missing track form the delightful Diamond Eyes released in 2010. This is much the same story for the second-to-last track ‘Headless’ – a song that feels as dreamy and abrasive as Chino’s criminally underrated post-metal PALMS project with members of ISIS – although there is no suggestion of lost identity. If anything, Deftones are proving their amplification; they know their foundation – they somehow, impossibly, invigorate it. Would you believe that the outfit is in their 32nd year as a group? Yet they are as current in today’s musical climate, if not more – delete that; they are still igniting the spark necessary now in an abyss of forgettable music.

If one was to describe Deftones’ career as “harmonious” – well, every past and current member, producer, manager, merchandise sales person, engineer, sound technician, promoter, booking agent, fan, someone who asked for a photograph and even pop-star would happily laugh at that notion. “Resistance” is a very VERY polite description to almost shine light on how turbulent their career has been. Coincidentally, that same highlighted word could not be more suiting in encompassing this entire record and the theme that goes with it. Returning to Terry Date as a producer was a terrifying notion undoubtedly, but the quintet resisted the complacency. The remarkable return to their heavier roots present on ‘Urantia’ is pure Adrenaline [wink] (potentially the introductory riff is taken from Metallic Hardcore 101 taught by the experts Earth Crisis), ‘Pompeji’ has the Saturday Night Wrist discomfort that is so impossibly miserable it is miraculous and ‘This Link Is Dead’ is terrifically terrifying.
There is an element of escapism for the five-piece which was possibly under-appreciated on Gore that is discovered and properly defined on Ohms; it is almost as if that last record was systematic to expose planet Earth to a possible sound realm for Deftones. They knew then how to use “resistance” in their favour, now comes their expertise – please see: ‘Radiant City’ and ‘Ohms’.

For this scribe, on every Deftones release there has been an artistic marvel that shines and shocks all senses which will for-never be ignored – on Ohms, ‘The Spell Of Mathematics’ is that tune. Charismatic, hypnotising and undeniably adventurous. A blend of Alcest’s shoegaze with Chino’s Crosses +++ project and it is miraculously mesmerising; it is almost too easy to imagine Mr Moreno dancing his dream-driven movements onstage to this bewitching journey while clicking/clapping along.

In the outfit’s shortest full-length yet they have ignited their electricity yet again; considering their past, it is phenomenal to discover that Deftones’ energy is greatly galvanised to the [electrical] point of being the modern day equivalent of their idols. If Depeche Mode are still the Exciter of “New Wave”, then Deftones are the “Shock Wave”.

Deftones - Ohms

Deftones – Ohms Track Listing:
1. Genesis
2. Ceremony
3. Urantia
4. Error
5. The Spell Of Mathematics
6. Pompeji
7. This Link Is Dead
8. Radiant City
9. Headless
10. Ohms

Rating: 9/10
Ohms is out now via Reprise Records/Warner Music. Purchase here
Review by Will Oakeshott (@teenwolfwill)





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