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Review: Deftones - "Ohms"

September 25, 2020 is probably a very special day. Four years had to pass, but after the 2016 release of “Gore”, the new Deftones longplayer is now out. The song is called “Ohms” and comes with ten new songs. We were as excited as flitzebogen and of course let you participate in our first impressions of the new record.

Deftones come back powerful and playful with "Ohms"

The band from Sacramento around frontman Chino Moreno has managed to develop into one of the greats of the music scene, who make themselves rather rare and therefore give their releases even greater importance. The cover shows crying eyes, which are only represented by an even grid of dots.

Incidentally, these points could be bought by fans. Under the motto “Adopt-a-Dot”, a total of 12,995 points were sold to collect donations for charitable purposes.

According to Moreno, the title of the album should clarify the balance between the different band members, the music and the lyrics.

The approximately 46 minutes of the album begin with the song "Genesis". This begins with a humming synth sound, which enters the piece with a clean guitar. The vibe is threatening, oppressive and gives off a dark feeling from the start. In addition, there is Moreno's unmistakable vocals, which vary between quieter passages and screamed lines.

The latter are expanded by various filters. One thing is clear after just five seconds: The band has not lost sight of their sound. In addition, the Deftones don't give the listener time to breathe in between songs. So “Ceremony” starts without a break. The song is full of atmosphere and also spreads a rather mystical-calm vibe, which is broken up by the scratchy distortion of the guitar. It is noticeable that the balance that hovers over the album also plays a role in the individual songs.

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“Urantia” also has a seamless transition from the previous song. What stands out is the drumming and especially the sound of the snare drum by drummer Abe Cunningham. In terms of its width and penetration power, this is almost similar to a rifle shot and hits the listener head-on. The rather calm and subtle stanzas are broken up in the course by muted guitar chords, whereby further nuances flow into the overall picture, the samples that have been recorded in the meantime complete this project.

In this song, too, the forces of destructive hardness from distorted guitar and drums work against the calm that emanates from the clean guitar and the vocals. Overall, however, this mixture gives a harmonious picture.

Despite the rather dissonant beginning of “Error”, the piece seems calmer and straighter overall. The almost dreamy C part of the piece expands the repertoire of influences for the track. This fades out after almost 5 minutes, but at this point the Deftones show their eye for detail. So the volume is not simply turned down to achieve the desired effect. The whole thing is accompanied by a sound carpet that is reminiscent of a breath of wind and which is taken up in the subsequent "The Spell of Mathematics". There, however, these sounds are downright killed by the oppressive hardness of the instruments and the scream.

With a total length of 5:28 it is the longest track on "Ohms". The snapping used, which is only accompanied by instruments and continues to play itself in the foreground, takes time to create an engaging atmosphere. Fans will certainly be pleased, critics may find this part too lengthy. Tastes are just different. The ensuing silence gives the listener a moment of calm for the first time.

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"Pompeii" shows the progressive approach of the Deftones. Be it by playing with different time signatures, which repeatedly turn into 3/4 time in the verses, or by the synthesizer chords, which represent the end of the song with wave noises. This part symbolizes the deviation from established structures, as it does without vocals and takes more than 40 seconds in total.

The fading, calm tones of “Pompeii” are followed by a brutal, driving sound with “This Link Is Dead”. Moreno's screams almost achieve a rap-like flow, which is supported by the straight, pressing instruments and also plays with overdriving the vocal filter, which is often used on "Ohms" and therefore loses a bit of its specialty, but is exhausted to the extreme becomes. In this track, too, the clock scheme is experimented with.

With "Radiant City" bassist Sergio Vega gets the chance to start a song. The wide, crunchy bass sound is supported by the vocals and the drums. The piece builds up more and more, also plays with the dynamics and is simply fun to listen to. It is noticeable that, despite their hardness, all the instruments fit together very well, give a harmonious image and, despite everything, are very present and audible individually.

The abrupt end of the song is broken up by the wobbling sound of “Headless”. The sharp guitar, which gets louder over time, silences the previously dreamy sound and, together with the vocals, creates a pressing, powerful song.

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"Ohms" is the final track of the album of the same name. The crunchy guitars, together with the drums, form an idiosyncratic song structure that adapts significantly more to the lyrics and does not follow any classic scheme. In terms of content, it is about the loss that triggers a profound sadness in his portrayal.

After the guitar has reached the final climax of the song and with it the new Deftones record, the instruments fade away for seconds. Like a black fade-out in the film, the last four seconds of the album are… silence.

Photo on behalf of MoreCore.de: Karoline Schaefer (Cat Eye Photography)