There was plenty of noise in the studio during the recording of the Sacramento rockers' latest album. Chris Schulz talks to Sergio Vega.

On the first couple of listens, you could say the new Deftones record sounds a lot like their other albums.

Blockbuster riffs? Skullcrushing rhythms? Chino Moreno's tortured howl crisscrossing over eyes-skyward atmospherics? Check, check and check.

But don't be alarmed, fans. There may be a definitive formula to Deftones' downtuned mayhem, but bassist Sergio Vega says the progression on their new album takes a few listens to sink in.

"There are some parts that are deceptive," he says. "They have pretty guitars with cranking bass and drums, or some of the stuff that is on the more atmospheric side has some of the fastest, most intricate picking that I've ever done. We put a lot of energy into it."


Gore, the Sacramento metallers' eighth album that's out today, contains plenty of moments to ignite moshpits during as-yet unannounced tour plans.

From the creepy aggression of Acid Hologram to the thrilling bloodboiler Doomed User, and the thrashy yelps of Geometric Headdress and Rubicon, there are songs that will quickly become favourites among the group's cult-like fan base.

Vega, who replaced Chi Cheng after the late bassist suffered a serious car accident in 2008, says there was plenty of noise in the studio during Gore's creation.

"It's just chaos. Everyone's noodling. There's just this noise going on. Everyone's doing their own thing. No one's playing together at all. But someone will pick up on something someone else is doing ... Chino will sing or scat ... and it evolves out of all that chaos."

Legend has it that the group's aggression has spilled out of the studio and into clashes between the band's members, especially around the time of the group's heaviest record, 2003's self-titled Deftones. Despite being older and wiser, they refuse to tone down the sound. But if there are disagreements these days, Vega says everyone's voice is heard.

"If there's any kind of division about where a song should go we give it all a chance, and then whatever idea has the most people on board [that's the one we choose]," he says.

Vega says New Zealand is now tentatively included in tour plans after an appearance at Australian metal festival Soundwave was scrapped this year. For now, the group's Kiwi fans have the new album to digest, and Vega says there's plenty for them to wrap their ears around.

"There are heavy riffs, it's eclectic, there's a lot of energy ... and tonnes of cool things happening simultaneously.

"It's subjective, but I think it sounds ... majestic."

Who: Deftones
What: New album Gore, out today