Written by: Izzy
Sometimes you gotta be the voice of dissent, the blade going against the grain, the weed growing from a crack in the concrete, the harbinger of anger from thousands of metal fans across the world. Following popular opinion has never done me any good, so I’m going to bear the burden of being THAT guy and say what so many probably don’t want to:
I do not like the new Deftones album.**
(**In comparison with their previous work.)
While I can’t call Ohms “trite” or “trash,” since it’s certainly a new-ish direction in the bands’ sound and is far from the worst thing I’ve ever heard, I do have many issues with it and luckily there’s plenty of other insulting things I can call it to get fanboys ready to piss on my grave! (Speaking of which, hi there Loveloth, I imagine you’re already sharpening your pitchfork, but I’d recommend at least reading the rest of the review before you skewer and burn me at the stake for my blasphemy.)
Ohms is, in my opinion, Deftones most poppy and accessible work by far, as well as their most simplistic and straightforward. That is not inherent damnation against the album, but it sets the grounds for my primary issues with it. Ohms is just an unimpressive and underwhelming album, nothing here is particularly exciting or really grabbed my attention. Much like their previous effort Gore it’s an album with a couple amazing tracks, bogged down by the rest of the tracklist just being...okay.
So much of what is here I dare to call toothless. I know that a band suddenly becoming less heavy shouldn’t be a fair thing to critique, because what matter is if the music is good or not, and maybe I am biased as my favourite Deftones records are their heaviest--Koi No Yokan and Diamond Eyes--but this isn’t a “Deftones have gone soft” stinkpiece. It’s more of me saying “Deftones put out an album of subpar songs that fail because they’re so mild and soft.”
And by no means do I blame this on overhype syndrome, because we all know it’s easy for an album to be disappointing if you expected it to be the second coming of Christ, but I in all honesty wasn’t particularly excited for this album. I haven’t been a huge Deftones fan for at least a few years now, and while I do still adore much of their music, they’ve become more of a footnote in the evolution of my musical taste rather than a feature of it. My reaction to this albums announcement was along the lines of “Cool, new Deftones, hope it’s good," to me it was just a nice little nostalgic bonus to all the other phenomenal albums released by beloved bands this year.
The singles, "Ohms" and "Genesis," are really the only tracks I can say made me feel something, "Genesis" has an incredibly Koi No Yokan reminiscent opening followed by a barreling riff that crashes through with one of Chino’s most aggressive vocal performances in a good while, before mellowing out into a more gentle wave of guitar. The song "Ohms," on the other hand, is a quite different case, it’s a strangely major-key arrangement, heavy as a styrofoam boxing glove but with the songwriting to give it a good punch despite that. Its got this almost sickly upbeat groovy riff that drives the whole track through to it’s phenomenal sing-along chorus, and I can see this being a favourite at concerts for years to come.
But the other tracks? I can barely remember them, they were utterly forgettable, I can try to pick out maybe a few moments that vaguely stuck with me, like uh..."Urantia" had a cool pre-chorus? "Pompeji" had a neat transition into "This Link Is Dead"? "Headless" had a good djenty riff? I’m not gonna say this is Deftones' worst album--that honor goes to Gore. I am, however, going to say it’s their second worst, and it’s sad because I did really want to like this album but it just didn’t give me any reason to. I’m gonna do my usual preface where I’m like “This isn’t BAD, I just think they could’ve done better,” because that’s basically how I would sum up this album. They could’ve done better, much better.
Deftones - Ohms was released Sept. 25th, 2020 from Reprise Records
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!