The Deftones – Deftones

The DeftonesDeftones (Maverick)

For years the Deftones have utilized a combination of Chino Moreno’s sleepy croon and Stephen Carpenter’s unique guitar voicings to remain one of the few bands that aren’t ashamed to be smart and heavy. All the elements came together for 2000’s White Pony, a true standout in modern metal that built on 1997’s Around the Fur with improved songwriting, a knack for soft/loud dynamics, more attention to production and atmosphere and DJ Frank Delgado, who’s ambient touch sent songs like “Knife Party” and “Teenager” over the top. The result was an erotic thriller, an album equal parts sleazy and beautiful.

2003 sees the release of Deftones, the self-titled fourth album from Chino and co., and at first listen the let down is evident. White Pony now seems as if it was a one-off for the band, that all the potential shown in their first two albums was maxed out for their 2000 release.

Deftones finds the group mostly reverting to their old selves, forgoing the nuances that made Pony so great in favor of pounding the listener over the head until unconcious. After realizing how good of a band the Deftones could be, I find myself disappointed with all of the mindless dissonance and screaming.

With a band as good as the Deftones, however, you couldn’t expect the album to be a total failure. “Good Morning Beautiful” is killer; everything that makes the best of the Deftones is found here (off-kilter rhythms, manic guitar progressions coated with dreamy vocals). “Deathblow” is another victorious anthem, staggering drunk through the verses and exploding into a fit of inebriated rage during the chorus. Unfortunately, these moments are balanced by songs like “Lucky You,” which tries for Nine Inch Nails ala The Fragile and comes off instead as pretentious and forced, or “When Girls Telephone Boys,” which steps on the brain past the point of enjoyment and into the territory of really annoying. Luckily, “Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event” arrives, the counterpart of Pony‘s “Teenager,” where Moreno’s voice is utilized to move (as in emotionally, not the standard physically). The album closes with “Moana,” another solid track that can’t be argued with (except, possibly, it’s placement on the album—”Anniversary” would have served much better as a closer).

Deftones is by no means a bad album, and most Deftones fans will enjoy it—yet I can’t ignore the fact that, poised for a big step, the Deftones took one backwards. Dissapointing.

7 thoughts on “The Deftones – Deftones”

  1. The Deftones album isn’t that much of a dissapointment considering the strange bedfellows that are the nu-metal crowd. This is one band that isn’t afraid to take chances, to experiment with sounds and has a genuine fascination in the possibilities of a single chord. They may not be a Sonic Youth or a Velvet Underground, but they can be lauded simply for being a Deftones.

  2. No, they’re actually quite good. It’s just that this album isn’t really an improvement from The White Pony, which is quite an album, definitly worth praise.

  3. Deftones 2003 is killer -So it is not white pony part 2 and I for one thank god for that. The best they have done since “Around the fur”

  4. Why all the emphasis on you, you, you with ‘I find’ and ‘I can’t ignore’? That’s a jackass way to review something, man. I,I,I want to know about the music, not your fat head. Annoying.

  5. Felt this review was right on; This album was a large let down for us deftones fans that follow the groups huge progressions for each album; hopefully they are just in a rut and will get it together for the next album instead of falling into mediocrity.

  6. I agree that compared to “White Pony”, “Deftones” can’t even compare. Infact I would dare to say that this album is there worst one yet. Even next to the mindless screaming of “Adrenaline” (which is great, dont get me wrong) I think “Deftones” still comes in last. But I will give the guys props on songs like “Good Morning Beautiful”, “Needles and Pins”, “Bloody Cape” and probably my favorite “Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event.”

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