Hi 92 / Lo 75
|Volume 68, Issue 151,
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Arts & Entertainment
Experimentation pushes Deftones
By Ed De La Garza
Heavy experimentation usually signals the end of a metal bandis credibility
among its fans. Add a Grammy award, and a band is labeled a sell-out. But
the Deftones have never been happy to just drive a riff into the listeneris
heads. The chaos they create in a mosh pit transcends into its songs.
Deftones, Chino Moreno (left front), Chi Cheng, Abe Cunningham, Frank Delgado (left back) and Stephen Carpenter, continue to experiment and evolve their sound on the new self-titled release.
Three years went by before the Sacramento, Calif., band followed 1997is Around The Fur with its breakthrough White Pony. On that album, the chaos was intercut with more lucid rhythms. It was still a juggernaut, but the time off between albums had obviously been spent becoming a tighter group, one capable of pushing its ideas without losing its edge.
Now, three years later, the Deftones find themselves in a world where the nu-metal scene has made way for pop-punk. Some of its brethrenis attempts to soften their sound has been met with mixed results (Kornis Untouchables) while others veer closer to pop to escape the rap-metal label (Staindis 14 Shades of Grey).
But rather than alter their sound, the Deftones have built on the experimentation of White Pony and pushed the envelope even further on the self-titled Deftones. Singer Chino Moreno still screams until his throatis raw, but the screams are laced with some pretty complex melodies.
"When Girls Telephone Boys" begins with Moreno screaming indecipherable lyrics, but a closer listen finds guitarist Stephen Carter, bass player Chi Cheng, drummer Abe Cunningham and DJ/keyboard player Frank Delgado locked in one of the albumis tightest riffs. Far from being typical aggro-rock, it surges and sighs like a pop song without losing any of its muscle.
Deftones does have its metal moments, but itis on the softer cuts like lead single "Minerva," "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event" and "Needles and Pins," that the group finds its strong point. Unexpected chord progressions, false starts and disturbing quiet suddenly give way to walls of noise, heavy distortion and crashing cymbals.
As good as those moments are, it misfires a couple of times. The techno-inspired "Lucky You" is too odd to sit through and "Battle-Axe" is too close to straightforward grunge. But itis not enough to drag the album down. There are times when Deftones sounds like an extension of White Pony, but when itis following a Grammy-award winning album, that may not be all bad.
The enhanced CD includes video footage of the band in the studio, individual profiles and photos.
The verdict: The Deftones will split your ears, but youill thank them for it.
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