Deftones’ vocal force Chino Moreno has a habit of retrospectively reassessing the band’s albums. He reportedly revealed that 2006’s ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ has since become unlistenable, citing his own lack of confidence. Of 2016’s ‘Gore’ - the predecessor to this ninth studio release - he accepted a lack of shared direction within the band. In response, it’s not surprising then that ‘Ohms’ presents itself with such clarity, speaking of rebirth and balance in its opening track, and returning production duties to Terry Date - the man behind Deftones’ widely celebrated initial quartet of powerhouse releases.
With both Date and a newfound unity in place, ‘Ohms’ sees Deftones further solidify the fragile relationship between heaviness and beauty. A masterclass in grandiose ferocity, the album harks back to the urgency of their early days and collides with the expansive melodies that underpinned much of their more recent output. Although on the surface the most aligned to their turn-of-the-century sound, ‘Ohms’ is filled with the twisted flourishes and unexpected juxtapositions that have guided the band’s lengthy career. ‘Genesis’ jumps from atmospheric synth to dense riffs, while ‘This Link Is Dead’ follows ‘Pompeji’’s eerie, seagull-sampling outro with a frank energy the group haven’t displayed in some time. “You want action?” Chino screams in the way only he can, leaving no time for a response, and launching into a scathing tirade.
Date’s production brilliantly re-establishes the rawness that underpinned his previous works, marrying it with the musical unpredictability that Deftones have spent the best part of three decades making their own, and delivering a fresh assuredness within the carefully crafted tension between brutality and fragility. If any of Deftones’ previous records are guilty of lacking focus (you decide), ‘Ohms’ is certainly safe from future vitriol.
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