Deftones have been around for nearly thirty years, their sound has evolved throughout but they now find themselves on the brink of irrelevancy. This album has a technological theme running throughout, from the song titles such as ‘(L)MIRL’ to the formulaic, almost synth-like guitar sounds.
The opening track Prayers/Triangles is full of clean sounding guitar riffs and an angelic, clean sounding Chino Moreno, this isn’t what we have come to expect from Deftones and it does not fit with the heavy sound that the album title. The raspy vocals that we have come to associate with Chino Moreno make a reappearance at the bridge which builds to a chorus which does not drop you as heavily as it should.
One of the major problems on the album is Moreno’s vocals which sound clean throughout the album, therefore instead of sounding angsty, the lyrics sound emotional as though Moreno is moaning. There are attempts to remedy this, such as the deep, sinister voice in ‘Acid Hologram’. However, the vocals here sound unintentioanlly campy, like the voiceover in a haunted house.
Gore does remind us why we fell in love with Deftones in the first place. We are thrown in at the deep end with ‘Doomed User’ which is destined to become a live favourite. The clashing instrumentals make you feel as though you’re in a mosh pit. Here, Moreno sounds at his angriest ‘go die, I mean it’. The instrumentals jump and stutter around the line ‘don’t make this out to be something about you’ Moreno is exorcising his inner demons. However, the tragic romance of the the lyrics is rife throughout the album, especially in the second half of the album. Moreno is bitter, and angry ‘left with my taste in your mouth’ on ‘(L)MIRL’ but the lack of feeling in his voice makes his emotions seem artificial.
Another recurring theme in the album is the geometry. Strangely, this theme is most prominent in the early half of the album splitting the album into geometrically themed and romantically themed. This could be symbolic of the detriorating mental state of the album’s voice. However, it feels as though this album is scattered as the instrumentals fit the geometric theme. This can lead to the songs feeling formulaic, you know when the chorus is coming, you know it will be heavier than the verse and you know exactly what the bridge will sound like. As a result it feels as though you are listening to an album you have already heard before.