Review by Daniel for Deftones - Deftones (2003)
While “Around The Fur” & “White Pony” may have been Deftones finest moments they were also fairly similar sounding albums from a production point of view so I think they were due for a change when it came to their next release. It seems that the band had similar thoughts as “Deftones” presents some noticeable points of difference. The first thing that hit me was the much dirtier production. The vocals sound like they’ve been recorded with a shitty old microphone & there is an overall lack of brightness. It actually took me a couple of listens to get used to as I initially found it a little intrusive but with familiarity came acceptance & I don’t have any qualms with it now. I’m not sure I like it as much as the cleaner production on the previous couple of records but I’m also not sure that style of production would have suited this record as much.
Apparently vocalist Chino Moreno really screwed his voice on the tour for “White Pony” & needed extensive vocal training to help him recover. Well if that’s the case then I doubt he did himself any favours with his choice of vocal styles here. A large portion of the tracks feature him absolutely screaming his head off which is in direct contrast to the breathy melodies of his recent work. When you add the dirtier production & some of the heaviest down-tuned riffing of the bands career what you get is the most extreme Deftones material they’d released to that time. And then, in direct contrast, there are also some more laid back & experimental tracks where the band dabbles in trip hop & downtempo & it’s this variety that makes “Deftones” a more challenging & diverse album than people expected too.
Whether you like all of the ideas here is another question. Personally I don’t find any of the material here to be a failure. Some tracks certainly work better than others & you won’t find the instantly memorable hooks of the previous couple of albums here but it’s a different type of album. It’s less obvious & more ambitious but also less focused. To me it seems like a conscious attempt to prove they were not just another generic nu-metal band. It takes a few listens to come to terms with but the pay-off is worth the effort. It’s a heavily underrated album in my opinion & I really enjoy it.