Deftones are one band which make you wonder how the music can be so good but simple at the same time? Yup, the Deftones are certainly simple but the songs are excellent. Around the Fur is their second album, after Adrenaline and before White Pony. This was Deftones first stab at the mainstream with the excellent "My Own Summer (Shove It)" and the eargasmic "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)." Both were pretty popular with rock music channels and they are also highlights from the album.
If you listened to White Pony right now and then listened to this straight after then it would seem strange. What would be the major difference you ask? This is the Deftones heaviest album with major distortion and screams everywhere while White Pony was a more melodic and darker serving. The two albums are totally different so you can't see many similarities between them. Around the Fur have two less-than-heavy tracks while White Pony consisted of those types of songs. Around the Fur is a nu-metal album and is probably the album that got them put into the same group as Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. They are hard rock now but that was the style back then and out of all those bands, these guys pull it off the best.
The album's opener is probably the greatest starting track I've ever seen with the sexy "My Own Summer (Shove It)" opening up this bible of nu-metal. The song has the most fun to play guitar riffs ever. Chino's vocals in the song add so much to the song whether it'd be his "I sound like I'm slowly dying" vocals or his very loud scream, it makes the song, that and the catchiness of the whole song. It is simple but very effective. The verses and the chorus are repeating a lot for the duration of the song. Second single "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" starts with some distorted flange chords. This song is a masterpiece but a bit reminiscent of White Pony. The song is absolutely beautiful and it is one of my favourites on the album. This seems a bit biased but the song is so great, 5/5 definite.
Ignoring the singles, there is lots of good stuff to listen to here. "Ihabia" is a very creative song with a catchy as hell chorus to head bang to. The song includes key nu-metal vocals during the verses when Chino has a very
"tch" technique. "Rickets" is major heavy with scary vocals all round. The song is true nu-metal and good nu-metal that is. "Head Up" has a nu-metal feel to it as well so I stand by this being a nu-metal album.
"MX/Damone" is done cleverly as it is 37 minutes approx but it isn't exactly 37 minutes. "MX/Damone" are two songs which stand on their own. "MX" is played for 5 minutes but then there is silence for about 28 minutes and then "Damone" is played for the rest of the track. My complaint is that they could have made the album longer and cut out a huge chunk of that track.
The band can be easy and hard to describe. Chino has two ways to sing on this album. One is his clean vocals which are slow but usually quite light in a weird way. Second is his screaming which isn't low or deep. His screaming is high and it always adds a taste of metal to it. Stephen uses a low 7-stringed guitar and his guitar is usually quite flange-like. His clean guitar is usually atmospheric and beautiful while he can have a bone-crushing distortion sound as well. His guitar lines are usually simple but catchy and effective. Chi's bass is for added chunkiness but he doesn't really do anything interesting as he just backs up the guitar. Abe's drumming is simple but the good kind of simple as he is very good at keeping the beat. I couldn't imagine Deftones with complicated drumming mind you.
This album is a perfect nu-metal album with many highlights and it can be an album where you can listen to it in any mood. This isn't as good as White Pony; nothing Deftones will release will be better than that album but with Around the Fur on its own, it is an incredibly strong album with barely any negative points. Don't listen to this if you are looking for technicality because you ain't going to get it because the songs are simple. Simple isn't bad though as the songs are well written. Buy this if you don't have it and you like the likes of Mudvayne as this is a nu-metal landmark.
**** + 1/2
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)