Deftones - DeftonesNever before have I heard a record that has received this kind of mixed reviews. Deftones have suprised everyone for the good or the bad with this record. You adore it, or you despise it. Either way, Deftones delivered their new record with a content that no one expected. I think allmost everyone expected a second Around The Fur, cut loose from all the emo and ambient influences that we heard on the White Pony album. But none of this is the case, Deftones made a record the way they wanted to, that sounds neither like White Pony, Adrenaline or Around The Fur. For those who have already heard it, and hated every second of it, stop reading right here. As you've probably figured out by checking out the score I awarded this record with, I adore this piece of work. I reckon it to be among the best these former nu-metal pioneers have ever delivered.
For those who haven't heard Deftones fourth release yet, let me help you out of your dreams. It's mellow. It's close to pure ambient music. Yes Chino's ripping his vocals apart, yes it features crunchy guitars, but every arangement has been set up to create a dark mellow un-moshable record. So no, a lot of you numetal kids won't understand it. No jumping the fuck up, no headbanging, no fucking moshing at-all. First impression the record gave me was that the director for Deftones' first video off 'Deftones' had the same feeling I had when hearing this piece of work. It sounds like a sunrise in the summer. The kind of music you want to listen after having too much beer and the sun is already showing up in the early morning. Combine this feeling with a big fat spliff, and you can somewhat guess what we have got here.
So there you have it. A big dissapointment for many Deftones fanatics. The ones that don't feel the need to understand the thought behind a piece of music, but just want to sing and dance. Nothing wrong with those kids ofcourse, but I feel that the band was not going for that audience. This is a listening record, and definitly not a party record. The sound is abstract, Chino's singing is as extreme (in the experimental way), as on White Pony, and the songs, if you can call them songs, are more soundscapes and waves of emotions then actual hits. To me, it's extremely nice to listen to, but I do understand if most people don't want to hear this, especially not from their favorite band. But that's what I like about the Deftones. They don't care, it's their music, and they do what they want with it.
So in many ways it is actually quite an couragous and exiting record, with many things to be explored and to be taken notion of. The one aspect I love about Deftones is that they always have managed to deliver a full fat sound with not to complex music. This record is probably the epidemy of that concept. Full sounding guitars overlapping Chino's vocal lines, and vice versa, topped off with very subtile and never annoying electronic samples. Songs like Deathblow are actual pieces of art, an explosion of subtility. No other way to explain it I'm afraid. You could say that all the ingredients that make the song what it is, are added with care, and you can hear the work that has been put into making the track sound subtile and full at the same time.
What I also very much apreciate about 'Deftones' is that when the minor explosions of agresion and strength blow through your speakers, the overall subtle sound makes the louder parts even more powerfull. A song like 'When Girls Telephone Boys' sounds much rougher than it would have on White Pony or Around The Fur. The bursts of emo make your speakers tremble, but once again the sound holds back, in perfect balance with the mellower stuff. The full length of this cd combines relaxing melodies with creepy sounds and experimental noise, and it is all well thought over and planned. Every track is a great experience on it's own, but listening to it throughout the whole cd, the buildup of the overall cd is near to perfect, a great tension build-up that never really gets rocking hard, but stays near to mellow, and creates a bizarre and fascinating atmosphere.
Absolute highlight of the record is the song Battle-Axe, with it's earie riffs in reverb, that sounds as dark as a simple piece of guitar has ever gotten in the Deftones repatoire. The songs swings into the heavier guitar riffs with a extremely carefully programmed sample before Chino lets his subtile vocals flow over this landscape of old Deftones sound in new clothing. After that short reminder of what the Deftones used to sound like, we are swept back into todays experimental reality of Deftones music with the most extreme track Deftones have ever recorded, Lucky You. I think the band has never sounded so electronic before. This is is as mellow as the band will ever get, it's close to an actual acid trip with a drumpart borrowed from The Cure used in a decent and perfectionated manner. Hollow drums, reverbed vocals and freaky trancy electro samples.
'Deftones' is hard to describe, but giving a shot, I'd have to say that it's a mixture of Kraftwerk on LSD with extreme Noise and Emocore influences, with some sparsely scattered Tool topped off with a high dosage of the later Radiohead, but still unmistakebly Deftones, as they manage to create their special own sound within all these influences. Last but not least, the artwork you get in the cd layout and booklet is simply beautiful. It matches the bizarre allmost silent sound.
The cd contains close to only Deftones classics, and will probably go down as one of the biggest misunderstood Deftones records. All I can say is you have to give it a try, it might not be your taste, but maybe you'll learn to love it the way I have in the last two weeks I had time to get used to the record. It's a difficult record, but still one can listen to it as the ultimate relaxing cd, so it's got two sides.
I'd have to finish this review saying that I'm very impressed! I now respect this band more then ever, they have delivered a true pience of art. And as always with good art, opinions are devided. I will be seeing this band very soon at the Pinkpop Festival here in The Netherlands, and I'm very curious how the new spacy material will come over live on stage. Deftones have taken metal to a new level at the end of the 20th century, and seem to be taking it so far that we can hardly call it metal. It's Deftones, no more no less. One of the best cd's I heard so far this year, and it will be high up in my year list.
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