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Deftones' sonic adventures flip between bliss and fury on Ohms

Sacramento alt.metal linchpins Deftones deliver stellar ninth album with Ohms

Deftones: Ohms
(Image: © Warner Records)

Of all the bands to emerge from the mid-90s nu metal scene, Deftones were the most adventurous. Nine albums in, that forward motion hasn’t abated. 

Ohms is instantly familiar without replicating anything they’ve done before. The familiarity comes from Chino Moreno’s shape-shifting vocals, flipping from a whisper to a digital scream on Genesis and Ceremony. But the backdrops against which they’re set provide a different iteration of the Sacramento band’s sound. 

Dream pop with metallic edges is still the default setting, but there’s a lot going on within that bandwith: Urantia could pass as a pop song, were it not for the interruption of Stephan Carpenter’s breeze-block guitars; This Link Is Dead is four and a half minutes of distorted noise punctuated by brief sunbursts of melody; the album’s highlight, Pompeji, is an apocalyptic soundscape that switches between moments of both bliss and fury. 

None of this is a major reinvention, but then Deftones have always been about big steps rather than giant leaps. And even then the rest of the field remains way behind them.

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.