Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 21 May 2003
It is a mystery to me why I keep going back to the Deftones. I guess in truth the only reason it can be is on the strength of their classic first album. When 'Adrenaline' came out it marked something completely distinct to the vast array of Korn-alikes who were everywhere in 1995. Even though the press lumped the Deftones into the same group for my money they were more metallic, less flashy and more musical than the gargantuan sludgy grooves of Korn.
Sadly the genius of 'Adrenaline' didn't follow. 'Around the Fur' was okay but followed trends rather than making them, it also went a little too trad. metal in my opinion. Then came 'The White Pony' which in many ways was a more suitable next step. It dumped the metallic posturing a bit in favour of better song writing and some mellow moments. Needless to say hopes for 'Minerva' were high. Some have said that the single was the best thing they have ever done and surely in this (almost) post nu-metal age the Deftones could be free of any pretension and release exactly the kind of album they are capable of. In a recent interview singer Chino Moreno was keen to distance his band from the whole Korn/Nu Metal genre. Strange then that this is without a doubt their most regressive and Korn influenced album to date.
From the opener of Needles and Pins I could barely believe what I was listening to. The song which is loaded with uncomfortable, self conscious dynamic shifts had not a hook in sight and Chino’s trademark distorted mic sound now seems to obscure little more than random growling and wailing. Hexagram takes a little more of a mellow Smashing Pumpkinsesque feel but basically is more of the same random jangling and vocalising.
The problem lies in that the Deftones guitar style has always taken the approach of full chords, played hard, with a compressed distorted tone. This worked well on their fledgling effort, but here were they seem to be determined to make everything as down tuned as possible, it just sounds messy, imprecise and not very catchy.
Their so called best song ever ‘Minerva’ and angular slabs like ‘Bloody Cape’ and ‘Good Morning Beautiful’ contain flashes of their previous greatness but overall it just isn’t there. Sure, the production by the ubiquitous Terry Date is pounding, with the bass drum pulsing through just as clear as day but that just isn’t enough. Where are the dynamic changes and heart stopping riffs that littered their earlier efforts? Where is the invention? Where is the musicianship? Gone. Replaced with path of least resistance, sludgy, boring riffs and pointless vocal freakouts.
Sorry guys, I just can’t recommend this. Buy any of their previous albums first.