Dying of Boredom, I’ll Try It All: A Brief Thing About Deftones

I’ve written before about Deftones, and my love/appreciation for them, but I’ve never gotten too specific, and have mostly mentioned off-handedly that I believe they were a much better and more talented band than pretty much any of their nü-metal peers (any of the ones I’ve ever heard, anyway), with the possible exception of System of a Down, who are undeniably talented, but whom I also don’t like as much as I like Deftones.

This is a pretty old picture of the band, but I like it. I used to have a poster of it.

However, I must confess that I’ve really only ever listened to the first four Deftones albums. I used to own  Adrenaline, their 1995 debut, but I haven’t listened to it in a very long time, and back when it was new, the supremely aggro “7 Words” was my most-often played song from the album. I later came to appreciate album opener “Bored”, but by that time, 1997’s Around the Fur had already come out, and I immediately liked it more, so I pretty much stopped listening to Adrenaline.

Around the Fur randomly shoves its way back into my consciousness now and then, and I really like that one. Their third album, 2000’s White Pony, got a lot of play among my friends and me when it came out, and it showed some real growth for the band. I bought their self-titled fourth album the day it came out in 2003, and I liked parts of it, but it contained some elements that didn’t quite grab me and/or mildly disappointed me (at the time), so I fell back on Around the Fur and White Pony, and never really gave the band another chance. I did hear 2010’s Diamond Eyes once, sometime in 2011 or ’12, and I remember liking it, but I didn’t bother going any further.

Side note: for my money, White Pony is the band’s finest hour, and it’s where they really set themselves apart from their angsty, tough-guy-posturing “jumpdafuckup” brethren. White Pony has a certain…how you say…je ne sais quoi, and it’s the Deftones album I return to most often. It feels safe and warm, even when it’s depressing, haunting, or terrifying, and there’s not a misplaced note or a weak moment on the entire thing.

Long story short: I realized I need to examine the Deftones catalog, so I decided to start at the beginning, with Adrenaline, and listen to each album in order (including White Pony, which I’ve already listened to three times in past two weeks), see what I can find, and share my results with you, the reader. I have no thesis statement, and the only thing I really expect to find is some pretty kickass music with which I am mostly unfamiliar. This’ll obviously be a multi-part series, though there will not necessarily be a separate entry for each album.

That said, I’ve just started listening to Adrenaline, and it’s every bit as aggressive and Angry-Young-Man as I remembered it being, but I’m also immediately struck by their excellent use of dynamics and space, which places them more in the neighborhood of Helmet and Clutch than that of Linkin Park or Coal Chamber. I’m gonna give a few proper listens, and I’ll report back later (but hopefully not too much later).

Until then, dig these videos…

The official video for “7 Words” is pretty heavily censored, so here’s this instead.

“Bored” already hints at the greatness to come.

…and don’t forget to stay heavy.