Deftones Return to Their Roots on Pummelling, Explosive 'Ohms'

BY Adam WallisPublished Sep 25, 2020

It's been four years since fans were left polarized by the softness of 2016's Gore, but now Deftones are showing their roots, with their ninth full-length LP, Ohms.

This album offers 10 pummelling songs and though it may not have been written with the intent to do so, it serves as a perfect musical embodiment of this year: a seemingly endless vessel of dread, despair and existential crisis. A grim descriptor? Perhaps, but it's Deftones — what else would you expect? 

Chock-full of ferocity and intense negative energy — a recipe beloved by Deftones fans worldwide — Ohms boasts songs like "Urantia," "The Spell of Mathematics" and "Pompeji," which unilaterally scream raw power and desperation. The latter ends with an ambient, synth outro, which recalls Vangelis's iconic Blade Runner soundtrack. The atmospheric instrumental seamlessly transitions into "The Link is Dead," which could easily be the album's heaviest and most urgent-sounding number. There's no sacrifice in the melodic department either, as there are plenty of beautiful segments to sink one's teeth into.

Despite clocking in at just over 45 minutes, Ohms feels like it's over at the snap of a finger. This might be a result of its perpetually explosive nature, however, after nearly 40 minutes of being sonically beaten, the listener is given a chance to breathe again with penultimate track "Headless." The self-titled song, however, is, without a doubt, the cherry on top to this modern-day masterpiece, serving as a magnificent conclusion to yet another musical journey of exigency perfected by Deftones. 

Other than the sour mood that Ohms is likely to leave you in — at least for a few moments — it's difficult to find any vices with this album. Whether you're more partial to their 1995 debut, Adrenaline, or 2010's Diamond Eyes, this collection has something for all generations of Deftones fans. The musicianship and diverse writing makes it blatantly clear that Ohms was a collaborative effort, with each member having their moment to shine. Take Sergio Vega's performance on "Radiant City" for example: it's a punchy, rapid-fire bass groove bound to impress.

Yes, Ohms forces us to reminisce on the band's glory days and yes, they brought Terry Date back into the studio, but that isn't to say they were just trying to recreate 1997's Around the Fur or rehash any old sound. This record is just as unique and innovative as each album before it. It's truly and honestly a breath of fresh air, it's just once again under the helm of the producer who fleshed out their unmistakable and haunting sound in the first place. But isn't that something most of us have been asking for since White Pony?

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