(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Deftones, which was released yesterday on the Reprise label.)
Let’s face it, some bands exist in a genre of one. Despite what imitators they may attract, Deftones are certainly one such band, capably incorporating a countless multitude of influences (there’s a hip-hop, jazzy freedom to much of the material, while the always dramatic vocals have a gothy, new-wave romanticism to their breathless, aching delivery) into a singular ocean of metallic sound.
The Sacramento five-piece find themselves in the enviable, and rare, position of possessing a singular sound – hugely influential, but rarely (successfully) imitated. From the halcyon days of whiny post-hardcore, through to today’s crop of weak-kneed djentiles, the influence of Deftones has been palpable, but rarely well-incorporated. And that’s because these other bands have almost all attempted to use the Deftones influence to soften their sound, to give it a forced romantic edge which blunts their overall impact. And in doing so, they’ve missed the point entirely.
For Deftones those quiet moments, those ethereal melodies, and sparse, shimmering structures, contain just as much power as their down-tuned riffage and tumultuous drumming. There’s heartbreak, there’s angst, there’s even love… but it’s always powerful.