I find the aplomb many children of the yet ongoing nu-metal maelstrom carry to be perplexing since the genre itself is at a musical ebb not seen since the 80's hair metal days. whenever a genre becomes that easy to categorize it often abolishes some of its most original members. bands like Helmet, Tool, Tomahawk, System of a Down, Chevelle, and the Deftones have been tucked under the same sweaty, shit-filled underwear as Slipknot, Mudvayne, Trapt, and even kiddie turds like Good Charlotte and Sum 41. like it or not, they are the reason rock and especially metal have been shrugged off as nothing more than a cash cow for those who weren't blonde enough to make it on TRL. it's why i feel as though groups like the Deftones--especially during the fantastic apogee of White Pony--don't look to their genre as a necessary condition for making good music, just a sufficient one.
Deftones, the band's 4th outing, doesn't possess the same complicated mesh that their previous album did but this isn't really a detriment. if their 1995 debut, Adrenaline, was their introduction and Around the Fur a process of rarification, then White Pony was their moment of transcendence and for good reason. the album was difficult to make and with the introduction of Frank Delgado on synths and keyboards the band often found themselves trying to maximize the potential of a new musical race they had furnished for themselves and their fans. to me, Deftones reverts to the period of Around The Fur but only *parenthetically.* the environment possesses the same texture but a new taste. songs like 'Hexagram' and 'Moana' share very strong structural simulacrums to many songs on their 1997 work but included are also moments of sweeping majesty and emotional tautness ('Minerva' and 'Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event') that are really quite breath-taking. other times Moreno's croon mixes with Carpenter, Cheng, Cunningham, and Delgado's turbulent throttles to create moments of bedlam. 'When Girls Telephone Boys' is a vivid example of this where the metallic music is violently married to Moreno's shredded vocals. he frighteningly sounds like a woman gone mad and seeking retribution. 'Battle-Ax,' the apex of the album, proceeds with a demonic riff with a lyrical cliffhanger for an end.
one also finds Moreno at a lyrical high because it seems as though he is focusing now upon wholly psychological interpretation, leaving almost all of the songs eerily ambiguous. Deftones, though still not as good as White Pony, is remarkable not just as a Metal album but any album. no other band has worked subtlety into their careers so well as the Deftones and it seems as though no other band shall for a while.