I don't like to place bands in too specific of a genre. Some say Deftones are Nu-Metal, some say rap-metal, some say something else. I hear a different sub-genre of metal every time I get on the net. Deftones started in the 90's and deal in a similar spectrum of metal popular bands such as Korn and Disturbed.
The band was a four-piece with one guitar, and they have expanded through the years to include turntables, keyboards, and Chino on guitars occasionally. Chino's vocals stand out as being a bit different. He has a superb scream, which is used sparingly, and good ranges with whispers, talking, and Maynard-esk (Tool) "talk into your trench coat" style.
This is the band's first major release, and it came out in 1995. It was followed by Around the Fur (which was my first exposure to them), White Pony, and a self-titled album. In my opinion, this is their best album by far, and is one of my favourite albums of all time...
The first track starts with a basic grindy riff, and the distortion used sounding very rough and textured. Chino comes in with some croaky vocals, and there is a quick burst of the of the main riff. The song returns to the chunky beginning this time with bass in tow and it is sounding good. It alternates like this for a while building well to the climax of the song with a good vocal performance in the middle. There is better to come. 3.5/5
2. Minus Blindfold
After the intro the song is left with bass, drums and vocals. A nice little clean guitar bit comes over the top, the band slips in short distorted fits in between. The vocals in this one is either rough yelling or mumbling, a good background voice effect part way though. This song chugs though to finish with another heavy burst. The album is still building. 3.5/5
3. One Weak
This one opens with a catchy bass line and a little singing. The guitar and drums come in with some softer vocals. This song builds so well and the first chorus opens up the sound and releases the tension. Nothing too heavy so far. The song returns to bass a vocals, then the rest of the band kicks in again but this time with more intensity and Chino showing his vocal class. Another longer chorus leads into the climax of the song, and the album so far, with a faster riff and some distorted yelling the instruments leading the song out. 4/5
A heavy opening follows the previous track well. The vocals in this one sounds very stressed and suit the stop-start feel of the song. The fast riff continues, and the song slows to build with a cool bass line, the bass-drum tapping to the beat, and some scratchy guitar noises. It all feels very stressed, and by the time it finally opens up to finish you are ready to go berserk. Finishes with some great screams and heaviness. 4.5/5
A nice slow start with plenty of palm muting from the guitar and cool bass line open this one up. Some cleaner vocals guide us though the verse, and there is a short heavy burst between verses 1 and 2. Some clean singing in the chorus gives this a catchy feel, and I always find myself tapping to this song. Another verse and chorus, then the song starts to ramps up at with just the guitar and vocals. The bass and drums join in and some scratchy yelling open up. This builds and builds, and the song explodes to the climax. Stand out track. 5/5
This one starts with a heavy opening, then slows through the verse. The chorus opens the sound back up. There is a wickid bass line in this song which sits under the guitar palm muted guitar riff. There is a semi-annoying breakdown bit in the middle, before another predictable slow-down to build, but unfortunately this time it is not to much. This one is the rancid meat in between tracks 5 and 7, but is listenable. 2.5/5
7. 7 Words
The guitar opens this up for a couple of bars, then other instruments kick in for the verse. Another groovy bass line and some talking from Chino makes you wondering how they are going to do this one. The answer comes swiftly, with the chorus being and explosion of sound and Chino screaming "SUCK SUCK SUCK". Verses and chorus alternate, and there is another slow build period with just Chino whispering, followed by six bassy hits, and a rapping verse. The song builds again for a final onslaught with the chorus. 4.5/5
After track 7 you need a break. The beginning of track 8 gives you a nice pleasant rest before a heavy bit to remind you what you are listing to. The song slows to bass and singing through the verse, and the guitar is used to the heavy break in between verses. This song seems to be going nowhere, with some wishy-washy vocals and heavily distorted guitar. The song slows to gather itself and builds to the climax with some outstands screams and a good cleaner guitar riffs. The end of this one is an album highlight. 4/5
9. Engine No. 9
Time for another heavy one. A chunky opening leads into a rapping verse. I'm not a fan of rap, but Chino makes it work. A catchy bridge throws us into the chorus, and this one feels more and more like it would be a favourite song at a live show. A pause with just bass, then probably the best guitar riff on the album shreds it up. Another chorus, then some noise end this one. 4.5/5
The best part of this song is the ending. The whole song moves though very slowly with some good singing, and it has a very melodic feel. It opens up a little for the finish, and the album winds down. 4/5
The album should have ended with the great ending of the last song, but the track makes an appearance. The song is slow and melodic like track 10, but with no vocals until a couple of minutes in, and even then they are sort of mumbly and incoherent. The song, and the album, finish with a pulsing machine-like sound. One track too many... 2/5
Overall this album flows through well, with standout tracks to put on if you don't feel like listening to the whole lot. It is one of those rare albums you can listen to almost all of the way through with not a lot of weaknesses. Check out Around the Fur, and perhaps White Pony, but unfortunately they don't come close to this essential album.