After two gold albums, the Deftones broke it wide open with 2000's platinum White Pony. Now, after global sales of more than 4 million albums and having played to over 3 million fans, the band's self-titled fourth ablbum, as erotic as it is brutal, as relentless as it is gentle, rocktes the Grammy winning Deftones to the top of modern rock.
While alt/nu/rap-metal typically bounds between two emotional poles--pissed-off and extremely pissed-off--and a musical range to match, the Deftones continue to push the genre's narrow boundaries outward on their fourth big-label release. Mic man Chino Moreno's patent yowl belies a range of emotion rare in the genus, while guitarist Stephen Carpenter seasons his buzz-saw assault with some industrial-strength riff textures and mixer Frank Delgado's spooky, synthetic textures further underscore Moreno's blossoming lyrical impressionism. If they stray uncomfortably close to jagged-rhythms formula in the album's opening quarter, the almost sunny sensuality of "Good Morning Beautiful" heralds some welcome shafts of light amidst the storm clouds. From there on, the mood drifts from languor ("Deathblow") to brooding ("Battle-axe," "Lucky You"), while "Bloody Cape" edges the band ever closer to traditional pop hooks before drifting into the resigned, psych-torpor of "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event." A compelling and encouraging album--even if it's taken them 15 years to get this far. Enhanced CD features include studio and day-in-the-life-of band video footage, as well as 150 candid photos. --Jerry McCulley