The Deftones’ debut album, the aptly titled ‘Adrenaline’, was a heavy onslaught of raw metal. It had a rather lo-fi feel, but that worked to its advantage, as the album relied solely on the band’s aggression, not slick studio production. My main complaint with the album is that Chino Moreno’s vocals were a bit incomprehensible throughout, especially during the verses, in which he delivered them in more of a rapid fire, spoken word type thing. On ‘Around the Fur’, he improves greatly, going from soft spoken word singing to his trademark piercing scream. The album is also more diverse, musically, as it contains moody/atmospheric elements from the bands 80’s influences (The Cure, The Smiths, etc.)
1. My Own Summer
The first single is a classic Deftones song. It opens with a killer riff from Stef Carpenter, which is echoed by Chi Cheng’s omnious bass work. Chino delivers the verses in a soft, near-whisper..then lets out a series of deafening screams in the pre-chorus (‘SHOVE IT SHOVE IT SHOVE IT!!!’). The chorus is melodic and catchy.
A heavy song in which pounding riffs in the verses lead into a slightly more melodic chorus.
The most radical thing they had done at this point in their career. Very Cure-influenced, especially in the slow, haunting verses (the chorus is heavier, but still somewhat subdued compared to typical Deftones songs). The bridge is also creepy, in which Chino sings ‘It’s too bad..you’re married…to me..’. Amazing vocal delivery.
4. Around the Fur
The title track kicks off with a hypnotic drum pattern from Abe Cunningham. The verses contain Chino’s ‘normal’ singing, which is a soft, almost eerie delivery..then, heavy screaming in the pre-chorus, and a heavy but melodic chorus.
Possibly the heaviest song the Deftones ever recorded (although there’s a few other contenders). Chino’s vocals range from a gutteral whisper to downright screaming, and the guitar riffs never let up.
6. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
Widely regarded as the greatest Deftones song ever. Not my overall favorite, but it’s right up there. It’s heavy, but Chino’s soaring vocals are gorgeous and captivating. It has one of the best main guitar riffs ever (which Chevelle blatantly ripped off not too long ago). Proves that music can be heavy but still harmonious and beautiful.
The clearest link back to ‘Adrenaline’, as Chino sort of speak/sings the vocals in an indecipherable manner. The chorus is another heavy but catchy one. A great song, another really heavy one that doesn’t let up.
8. Dai the Flu
Possibly my favorite Deftones song ever..an underrated gem. The verses are mid-tempo, and feature creepy, with ambient touches from turntablist Frank Delgado. The chorus is heavy, gripping and totally memorable. The bridge is also awesome, featuring some layered vocal effects.
Another ‘Adrenaline’ type song, which features guest vocals from Max Cavalera (from Sepultura, and later, Soulfly, the latter of which is name dropped in the song). It’s really intense throughout..really no touches of melody, but it’s an awesome song, another favorite of mine. I still have no clue what Chino is barking in the chorus, but cool nonetheless.
Yet another favorite Deftones song of mine. They really placed the best stuff last. This one is pretty slow for Deftones standards, but still has some pretty heavy riffs and what not. In the verses, Chino trades off vocals with a female (who I believe was Abe or Chi’s wife), in a conversation like manner. The chorus is another soaring performance from Chino.
If you fastforward about 30 minutes, you get to a hidden track called ‘Damone’. It’s a pain to get to..but it’s a great song worth listening to. Loud and scorching.
On their next album, ‘White Pony’, they added even more atmospheric elements, creating a rather subdued effort (but still heavy for music in general). It’s another excellent album (regarded by many as their masterpiece), as is the sonic, layered metal assault of their most recent eponymous album. But I still think ‘Around the Fur’ is their best listen from start to finish, as it finds the perfect medium between the raw power of their ‘Adrenaline’ era and the theatrical moodiness of their later work.
Best Songs: Dai the Flu, Headup, Mx, Be Quiet and Drive, Mascara.