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Experimental and challenging, but repays effort
on 4 January 2006
Don't buy this album expecting a Deftones album. Like an author using a nom-de-plume, Moreno made this record as a side project for a reason. There *are* a couple of tracks that verge into Deftones territory (mainly along the lines of gentler tracks, like Minerva or Passenger, although not quite as powerful).
But this is a wide-ranging piece of work, sometimes leaving metal entirely behind and ranging into elctronic-influenced and indie sounds. At one point, you will swear that Chino is collaborating with Belle and Sebastian. At another, the bass-line and vocals are heavily - and enjoyably - reminiscent of The Cure (whose "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" was covered so perfectly by the Deftones). Make no mistake, though: influences might be there, but this album is anything but derivative.
A comparison would be between the work of Keenan in Tool and A Perfect Circle, or between McCoy in the Fields of the Nephilim and Nefilim: there is a clear common thread, but the delivery is wider and at times you feel the band are finding their feet in a new medium.
Ataraxia, the opening track, is a brilliantly-chosen opener. It sets mood and expectations, and the listener embarks upon the later tracks wanting to like what they will hear. The rest of the album is wide-ranging, and this experimentalism does mean that there will be both more and less satisfying tracks for almost any individual listener.
To summarise, if you are approaching this album merely as a piece of left-field metal/indie music, you'll probably enjoy it rather a lot. If you are a Deftones fan expecting more of the same? The odds are that you will find something you like, but some tracks will take longer than others. Do take the time to check out the samples that are provided above.