by Justin Swope USER (92 Reviews)
May 14th, 2013 | 12 replies

Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Adrenaline is Deftones' most underdeveloped album, but a handful of tracks make for a fiery, heavy experience.

Teenage years are a time when change is in the air. A teen has one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood, and the question remains: which will he or she ultimately choose. Since millions of kids were facing this unrelenting conflict as always, nu metal was bound to resonate with many at some point. In the midst of their aggressive and rebellious contemporaries stood Deftones, a band that distanced themselves from the gimmicks of nu metal through their complexity and audacity. Nevertheless, their debut album, Adrenaline, comes across as an album for a similar audience. It's as if Deftones are not sure where to go next, but they utilize their talents to expend as much raw energy as physically possible in an album that lives up to its title.

Scattered throughout this album are traces of what Deftones would become: Chino Moreno's soaring vocals, battering guitar riffs, and, most importantly, unshakable vigor. However, on Adrenaline Deftones put forth so much energy that they don't always know what to do with it. When their passion is channeled effectively, Deftones reach a feisty peak, but when it runs rampant, the songwriting becomes slightly dulled. Despite lackluster production and amateur composition, the band's vibrancy is Adrenaline's saving grace. The spark that ignites the album from the start does not burn out until the very end. As a result, the intensity that Deftones bring to the table is enough to make one's head explode.

On this album, Deftones are at their best when they are shifting between their heavy and more melodic side. Standouts like "One Weak" and "7 Words" are among the most unpredictable tracks, deftly moving without warning from moments of soft-spoken, dulcet subtlety to vicious, elevated freak-outs. The band's confidence shines through every element of the music from the volatile guitars to the seething bass lines they lay down. While all this youthful ardor proves refreshing, there is inevitably something missing from the equation: elaboration.

Most of the tracks aren't as unpredictable or dynamic as the more noteworthy numbers. A handful of tracks begin to sound generic and repetitive after the first few verses. On "Bored", for instance, the straightforward guitar riff gives way to an anticipated sonic flare that is relatively underwhelming and a strictly linear progression free of surprises. "Nosebleed" begins with a killer riff, but eventually deflates into a formulaic structure with more bark than bite. Tracks like "Root" leave the listener with little to chew on and don't deliver the jagged elegance that makes Deftones so memorable.

While Adrenaline lacks depth in some spots, it contains plenty of hard-edged, catchy numbers that immediately get the listener's blood pumping. "Lifter" gives Moreno's vocals the space to mount a mechanical riff as the track slowly builds up to a fiery flood of anger. The juxtaposition of melody and rage on this track keeps it feeling zestful and erratic. "Birthmark" takes some interesting turns as well when the band grabs a basic, but enjoyable song and permits it to run itself off the rails by the end with a more rapid tempo and Moreno's unbridled yelling. There is much fun to be had with Adrenaline even though its inconsistency can prove distracting. Sure, Deftones sound very green and underdeveloped on this album, yet their innate ability becomes apparent throughout the album's course. "Fireal", on which Deftones delve into their darker and anxious proclivities, for instance, shows the band setting themselves apart from the average metal band.

Adrenaline leaves something to be desired, but there are a handful of excellent songs that keep the album moving forward. There's also something likable about the album's lack of embellishment. While this is not a technically impressive work, the band displays significant control over both their tone and their volume when necessary. At this point, Deftones had room to improve, but this album would serve as a worthy stepping stone into greatness.

Favorite Tracks:
One Weak
7 Words

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 14th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

good review, I agree with most everything you say. well done, have a pos.

Digging: Doomtree - All Hands

May 14th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

shake ur booty

May 14th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Just cut the adjectives waaaay down, or you end up with a lot of clutter and these painful phrases like "feisty peak"

Digging: Deftones - Around the Fur

May 14th 2013


In the summary: Deftones', not Deftones

But yeah, pretty nice write-up bro

May 14th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

fixed... thanks man

Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Good Review. I haven't heard this yet I wanna give it a try. Pos

May 15th 2013


I have such a soft spot for this album. I bought this and "Around the Fur" at the same time in high school. My friends and I rocked both constantly while country cruising and skateboarding. I always liked both for different reasons, this one mostly for it's youthful eagerness. I hear the flaws in it now, but it remains one of my all time favorites due to nostalgia.

May 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

Album is pretty eh.

May 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

sure is, but it's one of my first metal albums so I still have a soft spot for it. at least in a

nostalgic sense.

Digging: Vattnet Viskar - Settler

May 15th 2013


This is one is just a decent nu metal album. I like it but its one of the least remarkable album of this band

May 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

It's a very solid debut anyway.

May 15th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

Bored is probs my fave.

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