Deftones – Ohms

Chino Moreno, vocalist of Deftones, recently spoke out of both sides of his mouth in an interview about how their new, ninth album, Ohms, would satisfy their fans’ appetite for the heavy Deftones of the past, while also giving himself an out at the same time. He’s on record saying, “’Heavy’ is kind of subjective, you know? The last thing I ever want to do is be quoted saying, ‘This is our heaviest record!’” Unfortunately, for this casual listener at least, Ohms isn’t all that heavy and it lands somewhere in the super-safe-to-a-little-boring-at-times category (although there are a few bright spots).

All the classic Deftones trappings are there: screaming vocals mixed with regular singing, heavy to spacey guitar riffs, and airy musical breakdowns that always seem to turn into more intense movements as the song goes on. The production is in-focus, but straight out of the late ’90s/early 2000s (perhaps that’s deliberate?), and while the album is mixed well, the guitar tone just sounds thin and tinny (it could be better). Moreno’s vocals sound off-key at times and there’s a little too much vocal effects on them throughout.

The record starts off on the boring side with “Genesis,” a long and drawn-out slow number, that clocks in at over five minutes. It’s definitely not what I would have started the album off with, but the fans seem to like it nonetheless. That’s followed up by “Ceremony” and “Urantia,” both of which pick up the pace ever so slightly while still featuring the Deftones’ signature slowed-down, grungy style. The drumming is excellent throughout, however it’s elevated on the tracks “This Link Is Dead” and “The Spell of Mathematics.” Most songs just drag on for too long. They close with the title track, which is very much in their wheelhouse. It’s one of the best tracks on the record and it makes you wonder why they didn’t open with it.

Although hardcore Deftones fans will appreciate Ohms, I’m simply left with a bland taste in my mouth. This band continues to be one of the most overhyped/overrated bands out there, but a lot of people like ’em, so maybe I just don’t get it.