Few bands within heavy music receive as much acclaim, and on the flip side have been through as much turmoil over their career, as that of Deftones. Eight albums and nearly 30 years deep, the Californian outfit have managed to maintain their relevance by forever being innovative and refreshing, and, with latest album ‘Gore’ being no different, the band are back in the UK for a quick handful of dates with them now coming towards the end of the album’s cycle.
Also veterans of scene in their own right, gothic rock turned alternative punk rockers AFI  have had more than their fair share of time on the road, and with the release of their self-titled (or, ‘The Blood Album’) LP earlier this year, they certainly seemed to have revived a spark in their fanbase recently. With a shed load of material to work with, but only so much time, it’s difficult to pick the prime cuts.
Choices from breakthrough album ‘Sing The Sorrow’ rear their heads, opening with ‘Girls Not Grey’ and dropping in ‘Silver And Cold’. They know how to appease the fans, even if at times it kinda seems like they’re just going through the motions. But everyone gets their fringe sweep perfected in time for ‘Miss Murder’, which is just as catchy as it was back in 2006.
It’s blatantly obvious, however, that everyone in the room is here for Deftones . As expected, and as always, from the first few discordant chords of ‘Feiticeira’, the Sacramento quintet prove tenfold to be near flawless. Indeed, following this up with ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ makes for the one-two opening punch to be quite a statement of intent. All of the members are in their early to mid-40s nowadays, but they still bring the vibrancy, urgency, and are as sprightly as bands who are at least half of their age.
With eight albums of straight up bangers, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to a set list selection. ‘Around The Fur’ is menacing, ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’ brings a massive bounce that sees the room jumping left, right and centre, and ‘Diamond Eyes’ is an aural nightmare and dream in equal measures. Frontman Chino Moreno continues to prove how he’s one of the best in the business, seamlessly flirting through the beautiful, tranquil and ambient number ‘Sextape’ before a few songs later emitting his jarring scream of “Guns! Razors! Knives!” for ‘Rocket Skates’ that surely has plenty of fans in the room nearly blowing out their voices for the rest of the evening trying to imitate it. That is, of course, when they’re not clambering their way to the front row to meet Moreno face-to-face as he rips through ‘Knife Party’ at the barrier.
It’s interesting that they keep cuts from their last two records (‘Koi No Yokan’, ‘Gore’) to a minimum, when some of them could easily stand toe-to-toe with most of the repertoire that composes their back-catalogue. Instead, they’ve opted for a career-spanning approach, and with a closing trio of the ethereal ‘Minerva’ before an explosive and retro choice of ‘Bored’ and ‘Engine No. 9’ to follow, Deftones prove that they can flex and master any area of the spectrum that is metal. This is a band who are more than deserving of their legacy, and then some.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)