When I first heard that legendary metal band Deftones was going to be releasing an album this year, I was excited to see what this experimental band would come out with next. Their album “White Pony,” which was released 20 years ago, stands as a watershed moment in metal albums. But after listening to Deftones’ newest record “Ohms,” I realized it is the second coming of “White Pony.”
Listening to “Ohms” is like listening to journal entries of someone going through heartbreak. They are painful, emotional and most of all depressing. Lead singer Chino Moreno’s vocal range helps with evoking the somber lyrics throughout the album. The track “Ceremony” is a great example of the band’s penmanship. Lines like, “So I’m leaving you tonight / It’s not fun here anymore I’ll be joining the parade / Of the ghosts who came before,” display the haunting atmosphere the band is well known for.
This album also has incredible guitar work that is reminiscent of shoegaze acts like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, while also being punchy and raw. The song “Pompenji” is a great example of the use of varying guitar styles. The intro and outro are wavy and light while the chorus is heavy and piercing.
What makes “Ohms” stand out from other Deftones records is the importance of the lyrics throughout the album. The album starts and ends with a sign of hope that everything seems to be getting better for Moreno, but in between those tracks, life is on fire and nothing is getting better. “This Link is Dead” is not only my favorite song on the album, but it also displays Moreno’s rage with his partner. His frustration is relatable which is what makes Moreno and the rest of Deftones great songwriters.
The only part of the album that was disappointing was with the song “Error.” The drumming from Abe Cunningham was great as usual, but the glitchy intro and the confusing lyrics made the song feel out of place from the rest of the album.
‘Ohms” is a significant record for Deftones. It avoids being a part of the synth pop stranglehold that has held bands like Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5 in a musical rut. Deftones instead embarks in darker and moodier songwriting and instrumentation. This record is not for newer Deftones fans as “Ohms” is more experimental than other records in the band’s discography. The album is also not meant for repeat listens as the tone of “Ohms” is draining and harsh.
Despite the depressing nature of “Ohms,” this is a fantastic record for exploring the complicated nature of relationships without sounding sappy or pathetic. Just like they did with “White Pony”
in 2000, Deftones are able to be brutally honest with their fans while also providing wicked guitar solos. Their style is raw and unapologetic which is what makes them stand out in the sluggish and jaded rock industry.
“Ohms” is Deftones at their best. With excellent songwriting and powerful instrumentation, this album is a reminder that Deftones is one of the best metal bands currently producing music.