Genre: Alternative Metal
Label: Warner Records
Location: Sacramento, California
FFO: A Perfect Circle, Mudvayne, Chevelle
Truth be told, Deftones has always been a hit or miss for me. I haven’t really enjoyed anything for one reason or another since Diamond Eyes, and before that, White Pony. So yes, pretty much just the commercial successes along with a few songs from other records. However, as they seem to do every 10 years, they piqued my interest with the couple singles leading up to ‘Ohms’. More on those later, but I first want to mention that the production here is actually kind of iffy. The mixing, especially involving Chino’s vocals is rather very weird most of the time. So much so it almost throws the instruments off with it. Also so much so that it seems like it would be on purpose at certain points. It has to be...right?
I want to get this off my chest before getting into anything else, what the hell is going on with Chino’s vocals? Sure, the mixing is off which is a big factor, but even the performance at times. I loved the singles, specifically instrumentally for both. However, whatever he is trying to do in the song ‘Genesis’ with the screams, I’m sorry, is absolutely terrible. Such a great, big breakthrough opening in every way until a cat screeches on the badly mixed mic. That may be harsh, but I wouldn’t be saying it if it wasn’t so obvious. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get into the album overall. It may come to you as a surprise after that little rant that I actually enjoyed this record a good bit, but it certainly has its flaws as I tend to find with most of Deftones content. To start with what I liked, instrumentally I felt like this was one of their best performances. It really feels like Deftones just being who they are to the best of their ability, even after all this time. To move on from the singles, those terrible vocal mixes are all over the place. I really don’t know what they were thinking. Way too loud at times, separated, and high enough to be ear piercing in specific moments. The vocals are the biggest weight on the album and it really does drag it down enough to make it hard to listen to. Which is sad because again, the instrumentals sound great in almost every way. In that way, I love it. So I’m left pretty conflicted when it comes to talking about anything else within the record. I don’t care about what he’s saying because I just wish he wasn’t saying anything at this point. The groovy parts are groovy with well composed bass and drums to carry the more settled down moments. The guitar chugs away and brings in these almost droning riffs to create heavier moments that I love. Instrumentally, amazing job. A great example for that is ‘Urantia’. And I’m sorry, but I can’t stress this enough...the vocals ruin most of this entire album for me. A song such as ‘Error’ has much more tolerable and actually enjoyable vocals. That could very well be because it’s a calmer vocal. Then there are moments/a song or two that make the vocals more bearable by putting a filter over them like in ‘The Link Is Dead’. Anyway, let’s move on before I feel the need to keep repeating myself.
Replay value is difficult to say due to the above reasons. For me personally, I can’t say for sure. As for someone else, that could very well be determined based on how much the vocals are minded. I myself on first thought don’t even want to touch a lot of these songs because of how annoying and bothersome the vocals get. So if it’s not obvious enough the differences between this and past music, it’s the very detached and terrible vocal mixing. Chino has always had a floaty, atmospheric voice a lot of times, but this was just different and any fan should be able to tell. However the instrumentals are very much an improved version of who they are.
Honestly, this album deserves a 5. A middle of the road, average score. However, the only reason I’m willing to bump it to 7 is because of just how much I enjoy everything else about the record. This is still a very conflicting review for me though simply based on how much I enjoy one thing but then hate another. I still don’t know the replay value; if I’ll ever touch it again, maybe sometimes, or maybe I’ll move on from certain things and just learn to love it in total. I hope the latter, but I suppose only time will tell.
Strongest Song: Ohms
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/deftones/1092903