White Pony made me a fan of the Deftones. Before that album, I had written them off as a standard nu metal band: lots of screaming and distortion and not much in the way of substance or musicianship. White Pony changed all that. I absolutely loved the album -- it had its down points, but its up points (such as Passenger!) were spectacular. After that album, I went back and listened to the older Deftones albums, and learned to appreciate those as well, though not quite as much as White Pony.

So, as you might imagine, I was very excited to hear that the Deftones had released another album, and went out and downlo-- bought the album (eponymously named Deftones) immediately. This album, much like the last one, seems to have its high points and its low points. Unlike White Pony, this one opens weak, but gets stronger and stronger.

Standard disclaimer: This review is entirely, completely subjective. If you already have an opinion about this album, you probably don't need to read any further. If you really, really enjoyed songs like Elite (off the previous album), you will probably disagree with me a great deal. Either way, feel free to /msg me comments, or post a review of your own.

  1. Hexagram (4:09): This song was made for the nu metal kids. Very loud, lots of distorted guitar, incoherent screaming, jagged rhythms, the whole nu metal pantheon. It has its occasional sweet moments, but overall not a great song.
  2. Needles and Pins (3:23): This song is similar to the last one. I didn't mind it quite so much, but it left me wondering if the Deftones had regressed to pre-White Pony levels.
  3. Minerva (4:17): This song was a good bit better, and restored some of my faith in the Deftones. Chino actually sings (imagine that!) in this song, the guitars aren't distorted to the point that they're painful -- in general, less noise, more music. This song is also the first single off the album - good call.
  4. Good Morning Beautiful (3:28): This song was like the last one; still no sign of the Deftones I came to love on White Pony, but still not bad at all.
  5. Deathblow (5:28): Now this song was excellent. It was quiet and vaguely reminiscent of Digital Bath from the previous album. Some very cool singing, and I really like the background. Excellent song.
  6. When Girls Telephone Boys (4:36): This song, particularly after the last one, was a bit of a let-down, as it harkened back to the first couple of songs. It does have its strong sections though, so on it's own its not bad at all.
  7. Battle-axe (5:01): This song is really well done, I quite like it. It's loud, it's hard, and it's good -- a first for this album. Well done indeed.
  8. Lucky You (4:10): This song is just fucking awesome. It exemplifies the experimentation I witnessed on White Pony that made me love the Deftones. The background, I believe, is a DJ and a drum machine, and Chino does some very cool things with his voice. The "come and take me hoooome" part is quite haunting too.
  9. Bloody Cape (3:37): This song is another loud-hard one. It's not bad (although I'm not a fan of the ending at all), but its nothing spectacular.
  10. Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event (3:57): Let's get this out of the way: I think the title's hilarious. /me applauds. The song itself is rather soft and slow, in a style that's actually reminiscent of a Smashing Pumpkins song whose name eludes me right now. Quite good stuff.
  11. Moana (5:02): This song starts out soft, but makes the expected transition to the standard hard Deftones sound. This is the other song on the album that pulls off that sound really well, and is probably one of my favorite songs on the album, along with Lucky You and Battle-axe.

In comparison to White Pony, this album was rather disappointing. It had its good moments, but nothing great - no Feiticeira, no Passenger, no Pink Maggit, no Change, no RX Queen, and a close-but-no-cigar Digital Bath. On its own, the album's not bad, but it seems like it should come before rather than after White Pony. It's worth the bandwi-- money, particularly if you're a big fan of the Deftones, but I'm still waiting for the album that should come after White Pony.

"So God bless you all
For the song you saved us
For the hearts you break, every time you moan
And God bless you all on the earth..."

-- Chino Moreno, Minerva

The Deftones are a prog-metal band from Sacramento, California, formed in 1988. Chino Moreno (Deftones' future vocalist and occasional guitarist) was walking past a garage and saw a teenager playing guitar, who turned out to be future Deftones guitarist Steven Carpenter. His cousin met him, and told Chino about him. They went to meet each other, and there and then they formed what would soon be called The Deftones. They would later recruit Abe Cunningham as a drummer and play shows. After Steven got hit by a drunk driver, he managed to get a large cash sum to spend on the best equipment money could buy. Deftones began playing locally shortly thereafter, and going through several different bass players, before finding a permanent bassist in the form of herb-lover Chi Cheng.

The band had trouble in securing a local fanbase, as the music scene in Sacramento was lacking in any real rock bands. So they instead traveled around the rest of California, playing gigs in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and Reno. Finally, after 4 years of demo swapping and constantly playing gigs (as well as shuffling multiple day jobs), the band got their record deal at Maverick Records. They released their first album, Adrenaline, an underground heavy-metal classic fusing rap-styled, soaring vocals and crushing guitars and drums, in 1995. Their album managed to sell around 200,000 copies by word of mouth and constant touring with fellow-underground metallers Korn, industrial-metalists White Zombie as well as a plethora of others, as well as three national headlining tours and a stint at the Ozzfest.

The Deftones soon managed to secure a track on the soundtrack for The Crow: City of Angels, called Teething. They also managed to include Can't Even Breathe on the soundtrack to Escape From L..A.. The band then released their sophomore effort Around The Fur in 1997, which eventually reached gold status. The inclusion of turntablist Frank Delgado expanded the simplistic metal sounds as depicted on Adrenaline, and Chino tried not to rap so much. And with it came two radio hits, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) and the heavy metal classic My Own Summer (shove it) (which also found it's way onto The Matrix soundtrack). In between touring and working on new material, The quintet release a 7-track live EP, simple titled Live.

After their third LP release White Pony (an undisputed metal classic) in 2000, Deftones were regarded as one of the most important alternative rock acts of the 90s. White Pony went on to reach Platinum, debuting at number 3 in the Billboards. Their popularity was strengthened more so by the hit singles Digital Bath, Change (in the house of flies) and Back To School, with heavy rotation on MTV. The band were at the top of their game now, and a lot of people wondered how they could beat White Pony. But they did it, and their self-titled masterpiece (released in 2003) furthered the band's sound into much more experimental realms, more so than White Pony. Harsher and heavier than their last offering, it also managed to be their most emotional and epic yet, from the soft, electronica-lead Lucky You to the absolute carnage of When Girls Telephone Boys. The band had created their finest work yet. What follows will surely be mesmerizing.

As a side-note, vocalist Chino Moreno is currently experimenting with a side-project called Team Sleep, who contributed a track to The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack. Currently, the Deftones are:

Currently, the Deftones have released the following LPs:

"Louder than war. Uplifting like a drug. The best band in a genre of one."


http://www.deftones.com

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