Music Review: Deftones give glimpse of ‘Gore’ with new single ‘Prayers/Triangles’

With the release of the new single “Prayers/Triangles,” Sacramento’s alt-metal stalwarts Deftones continue to trek beyond the boundaries of the aural landscape they first mapped on their 1995 debut album Adrenaline.

Pulse-pounding, emotional and unrelenting, “Prayers/Triangles” – the first single off their upcoming album Gore – sees the band continue charting new musical territory. However, as has always been the case with this quintet, the Deftones are less interested in abandoning their previously established sound on past albums for something newer than they are about confronting, conquering and colonizing the new musical challenges that lie on the horizon.

This astounding ability to annex and absorb disparate genre sounds into the band’s ever-expanding and maturing musical mosaic has always been a hallmark of theirs. However, there is a seamlessness, a mastery, with which the group deploys their near-bottomless arsenal of sonic weaponry on “Prayers/Triangles” that has never been heard from them before.

When debuting “Prayers/Triangles” on the Feb. 4 edition of Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, frontman Chino Moreno described the track as “very Deftones-esque.”

Moreno elaborated, “That dynamic is there as far as that ebb and flow, those parts that go at your throat, but it also has a soothing quality to it. That dichotomy I think is what makes us who we are – it’s sort of our DNA.”

Opening with an intoxicating witch’s brew of bleating, buzzing bass lines and deliberately-paced weighty drum beats, Moreno croons a threatening incantation – “There’s a new strange / Godless demon awake, inside me / There’s a force divine / Terrorizing the angels I keep / While we dream.”

The wickedness doesn’t last long, however, as celestial guitar strings quickly overtake the track, ushering in a bombastic barrage of washed-out shoegaze guitars and anthemic singing, which gives the song flight.

The most exhilarating moment of “Prayers/Triangles” is when Moreno’s vocals soar during the chorus, singing “Prayers / Prayers / Laid on the line / You’ll never be free,” as the rest of the band flies like bats out of hell to catch up.

That the frequent tonal shifts in “Prayers/Triangles” are never jarring and abrupt is a testament to how well the Deftones have become at blending different sounds. The Dark Wave vibes of the verses bring to mind Garland-era Cocteau Twins and somehow smoothly segues into the post-hardcore angular guitar riffs that propel the chorus.

The transition from verse to chorus is just one of several trapdoor moments found within “Prayers/Triangles.” After the second chorus, guitarist Stephen Carpenter begins to slather the musical arraignment with thick, Sludge-Metal guitar chugs during the track’s breakdown. The climactic ending of the song finds the rhythm section crushing everything in its path with violent, Meshugahh-inspired odd-time signature riffs and beats, bringing the 3-minute and 38-second musical odyssey to a breathless and smoldering end.

While only the album’s first single, one can hope the Deftones’ sojourn in this mesmerizing musical realm they have just established on “Prayers/Triangles” lasts through the entirety of Gore.

If that’s the case, there’s a hell of an album dropping on April 8.

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