Recently got a box set from the band Failure spanning their 90’s releases and there were several artist testimonials, one I was shocked to see was Deftones Chino Moreno talking about how Stef got him into them, citing Failure’s ‘Comfort’ and ‘Magnified’ as favorites. It really caught me off guard because we know how kind of secretive Chino usually is; but at the same time it never really dawned on me how much of Failure I’ve heard in past Deftones releases, and especially this new one. Ohms is the 9th studio release from the band that finds them expanding on their own style; particularly the sounds they’ve been making with their most recent 3 albums Diamond Eyes, Koi No Yokan and the somewhat controversial Gore.
As some fans voiced some displeasure at the more post hardcore and almost shoegaze sound of Gore those same fans tend to forget the band is such a multi-influenced unit that can range from Prince to Metallica to Depeche Mode to Meshuggah, a lot of fans are kind of in denial of them not solely being just a heavy band. Then again we’re also talking about a band that has a small fraction of the fan base not moving on beyond Adrenaline or past White Pony, and yes those people exist. But rest assured, if you missed the heavy guitars, it’s here for you. As a career long fan, it’s not the presence of the heavy riffs that intrigue, but how they’re utilized. While Stef employs a 9 string guitar here, this record could’ve easily been littered with 0’s and 1’s on that C# string; but instead he layers heavy moments with lush melodic “Sus” chords, really filling out the full dynamics of the strings available to him. This is especially because he’s typically identified himself as a meat and potatoes guitar player.
The mix on this album is more potent and fleshed out than it has been on the past few records, thanks in part by the returning Terry Date, who co produced the album. Terry Date was responsible for the band’s early catalog and if you needed a reference point I’d say this is the most crisply mixed album since Around the Fur. With so many textures bouncing back and forth between the ambient keys and samples, Stef’s super heavy guitar, Abe’s colossal drumming, Chino’s guitar and Sergio’s bass, it’s a lot to blend together, and I can’t help but think this record truly found a balance most didn’t even realize from previous album’s production and mastering. I’d also like to point out thanks to this album’s mix it really helped shine some more light on Sergio’s bass playing, and I think if there’s one album you want to say complimented him as a player in the Deftones discography, it’s certainly this one.
Lyrically you can’t help but feel there’s some anti-political sentiment or at least some disassociation from the world of choosing sides but seeing as how Chino has kept the lyrics vague and ambiguous, it’s open to interpretation. This album is definitely peak Chino as vocally he really stretches out all over this. Song wise the band establish some powerful moods by segueing beautifully from each track to the next. As I noted earlier in the review it really sounds like a blend of the last 3 records, almost as if they took the best parts of those and combined them here. And while noting it blends elements from the last 3 albums, that’s not to say there weren’t things re-worked from the scrapped Eros sessions; but in all fairness we’ll never really know what they took from there and replanted here unless they fill us in.
Overall this album is everything a fan could want of the band. There’s no needless pandering, it’s just the Deftones being the Deftones. And if you aren’t already on board, what are you waiting for?
Notable Tracks: Error, Urantia, Ohms, Genesis