Deftones have out done themselves.
While White Pony has long been held up as the pinnacle of their career (rightly so, it’s killer), they’ve produced a lot of material that has come close but hasn’t had the same impact as the left turn they took in the year 2000.
OHMS has achieved that rarest of feats, to paraphrase the man who climbed Everest for the first time they have knocked the bastard off.
It’s beautifully heavy, intense and dynamic, a guitar driven behemoth that takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride veering left when you expect a right, plunging new depths just as you’ve been lifted to new heights and then there’s the seagulls.
Opening track Genesis feels like you are drowning in molasses and Chino’s vocal is the buoy that is keeping your head above the waterline.
Ceremony has a real Perry Farrell feel in the melody and some of the vocal phrasing. It’s the calm after and before the storm as Urantia hits you with a machine gun guitar start that echoes some twisted Maiden-esque monster and then drops out to a plaintive vocal that’s a real surprise, the song builds beautifully.
Error’s squealing feedback introduction is yet another shift and another mood that soon has Chino’s vocal soaring at its best while Abe’s syncopated playing drives the song on.
The bassline to start The Spell of Mathematics cuts right through you – what a start to a song. There are finger clicks/hand claps, surges in and out like a tide that lets you get comfortable.
The clean guitar intro and relaxed vocal of Pompeji goad the listener into a false sense of what is to come and then bam – a wave of Tool like ferociousness that will have you flicking through the album booklet to check if Maynard James Keenan was present during this session. The song is a rarity for the band in that it feels like it’s really telling a story and the ambient keyboard accompanied by the seagulls bring a feeling of relative peace to end the song.
As Pompeji had echoes of Tool, This Link Is Dead feels like a real anthem, a frustrated punk energy and rebellious rant that evokes Zack De La Rocha and RATM. The songs energy drives throughout but the expected full on fury never gets fully unleashed. I was equally disappointed it did not happen and impressed the band choose restraint from doing the expected.
An out of step riff peppers Radiant City and it is rapidly hooked into your head, instantly memorable. Clean to distorted vocal switches throughout add to the intensity that never lets up on one of the shortest tracks on the album.
Headless is more Deftones goodness, if there is a song that represents the essence of the band distilled in one place it is here, could easily have been on White Pony.
Finally, the title tracks with THAT guitar riff – truly epic. Ohms is relentlessly heavy and winds its way around you like a boa constrictor, all encompassing and crushingly beautiful. What a way to finish a record that is certainly the high tide mark of Deftones output.