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  • “White Pony” should stand as one of the best recordings made at the onset of the 21st century. Combining heavy metal guitars and futuristic electronica touches with the alternately delicate and larynx-rending singing style of Chino Moreno, “White Pony” would make the perfect soundtrack to some cyberpunk film noir that was never made: as sharp in its execution as a chrome shuriken and a tone and feel as blurry as the glow of neon in the rain.

    It’s hard to fault the Deftones for making a worse record than “White Pony,” but we’ll manage.

    Where their magnum opus shoveled sludge at the listener in an octave more easily processed by the human ear, guitarist Stephen Carpenter seemingly sinks lower and lower into the quagmire of modern metal’s fascination with ridiculously low guitar tunings. The result is guitar that sounds like someone threw Carpenter’s amp stack into a lake, then tossed a blanket on top. Murky and characterless.

    They’re a band at their best when seamlessly integrating their influences; Moreno’s Cure fixation at odds with heavy metal and DJ Frank Delgado’s beatmaking skills all in the same roaring, dysfunctional lullaby. When the ‘Tones draw lines instead of using a blender, they’re in trouble. “Lucky You” and “Anniversary of An Uninteresting Event,” while both interesting and able to stand on their own, smack of awkwardness in the song cycle of an otherwise heavy (and muffled) recording.

    If there’s something good to say, it’s that the band’s passions are still running high. In “Hexagram,” Moreno’s vocals are stretched almost to the point of breaking, making for a howling bridge piece that’s the aural equivalent of trying to tie a rubber band around the trunk of a redwood tree. Other standouts include the single “Minerva,” with its churning waves of blissful guitar fuzz, and the similarly constructed but downtempo tune, “Battle-Axe.”

    Overall the album is simply too formulaic for a band that proved themselves capable of writing a record like “White Pony.” Yet, even with most of the songs sounding so similar, the flow of the album seems disjointed and fragmented — where “White Pony” was an album, “Deftones” is merely a collection of songs.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • One of my favorite bands for the main reason that they are unique in themselves and will not conform, The Deftones have once again pushed the boundaries of modern rock/metal and delivered another brilliant escape from the norm. On their fourth (self titled) disc Chino and the boys dig deep and hand us 11 tracks all different, all spectacular. I will admit that when I first heard the single ‘Minerva’ I was less than impressed, but even that track has grown on me since purchasing the album.

    ‘Hexagram’ opens the album with ferocity and brutality that lets you know to expect a true to form Deftones album. ‘Needles and Pins’ though is what really kicks this album off. Mix Chino’s haunting vocals and brilliant lyrics with Carpenter’s crushing guitars and Delgado’s soundscapes and added textures and you have a perfect song. The follow this brilliant direction in ‘Bloody Cape’ as well, delivering brutal force and seductive elegance all at the same time. And I want to make mention that ‘When Girls Telephone Boys’ is one of the most brutal tracks Deftones have ever put out…Chino is god, I swear.

    They turn a softer leaf with tracks like ‘Good Morning Beautiful’ and the closer ‘Moana’, songs that have more of a ‘White Pony’ feel to them. ‘Deathblow’ and even ‘Battle Ax’ carry this same feel, not much screaming, more like yelling over some heavy yet not brutal riffs. The later two though hold my attention better than the former.

    It’s the haunting beauty of ‘Lucky You’ though that stands out as the most inspired track here. It appeared on the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, and it fit…but here, in the element that is Deftones it holds much more presence beings the only of it’s kind. The chorus is just so calming and soothing…it’s one of my favorite songs ever penned. This beauty is also worked into ‘Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event’, which if it had been up to me would have been swapped with ‘Moana’ for it serves as the better closing track, winding things down and leaving you serene.

    Chino’s vocals are top notch here, and the musicianship is top of the game as well, the whole package being one of the best albums to be released in a long time. Deftones will always be one of the most inspired and original acts in rock/metal music and I’m sure with each release they will hone and perfect their craft.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is my favorite Deftones album, even including their latest release Saturday Night Wrist. With white pony, it was clear that Chino took the reins & steered the band in a new direction with great results. What we have here is Stephen taking the reins back & putting his stamp on the new direction, adding more blistering guitars & earth shattering riffs to the layered sounds of the rest of the band. This is the heaviest Deftones album (Around the Fur is a close 2nd) & I think it turned off some fans. There is not one bad song on this & there is a very eclectic mix of songs here, more so than White Pony. If you are a Deftones fan, this album is essential.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It’s been said many times here, but I’ll say it again…this album is not “White Pony 2″ or “Son of White Pony”. With that being said, can we please stop pouting and move on?

    This album is, arguably, the Deftones best album. No band on the planet marries such ambient and lush textures with such brutal power like these guys do, and that would make this their Sistine Chapel. Songs like “Hexagram” and “When Girls Telephone Boys” bludgeon you over the head to get your attention as opposed to tapping you on the shoulder, and “Good Morning Beautiful” and “Bloody Cape” have hooks that are so sugary-sweet your teeth will hurt listening to them. The crowning achievement here though, in my humble opinion, is the blistering “Needles and Pins”, whose siren-like guitar work creates a sense of urgency and anxiety. I’m on the edge of my seat every time I hear it.

    I think if “Around The Fur” and “White Pony” had a child, this album would be it. And I would spoil the hell out of it.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I just picked up the cd today. First off there’s 11 songs on it, Minerva and Bloody Cape seemed to have been left off the list on Amazon. I had only heard Lucky You from the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack and was quite suprised by the rest of the album. Unlike the ethereal White Pony, Deftones is much darker. Chino gives a very emotional and brooding preformance, personal favourite are “Needles and Pins”, “Deathblow” and “Minerva”. “When Girls Telephone Boys” is alot like old Deftones, but the rest of the cd is a progression from White Pony. The guitar is very catchy and Carpenter has come up with some of his best work yet; Delgados is incredible especially on “Lucky You”; Cheng provides a great atmosphere; and Cunningham creates great beats and drumming very enjoyable to pick apart. The track that really suprised me was “Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event” though, I’m not sure what to say about it. It’s different from other Deftones songs and sounds very New Age, yet distinctly Deftones. This cd is better than White Pony and like all their albums is a progression from the last one.

    Posted on January 29, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now