Saturday, 18 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - Deftones

I have just concluded a series of blogs on a decade of going to gigs, and now I’ve decided to embark on another one. Aren’t y’all lucky? No wait, don’t leave! (who am I talking to right now?!) Anyway – this one is going to be quite different in that I want to go through a bands discography and give some thoughts basically. I tried launching a 10 songs you need to hear series some years ago and covered Nine Inch Nails and picked 10 songs people might not immediately think of when you think of NIN – that can be read here. This is different. I will go through a bands back catalogue and give some thoughts. There will be some interesting choices in this list as I will cover bands I love and bands I really don’t. What I will do is a brief summary of my relationship with the band and then launch into my thoughts on their back catalogue. After I have talked about an album, I will give my MVP choice of my favourite song from the album, and then give some other recommendations. To make my life a bit easier, I will be covering studio albums only – so EPs and live albums will not be covered unless I consider it to be an exceptional circumstance (see S&M). I find myself wondering, particularly with my first choice of band, and with another one I intend to do, whether my opinion on them will change. Only one way to find out. That is enough of an intro – this first blog in this series of Revisiting Bands focuses on a band I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of – Deftones.

My Relationship with Deftones – I first got into rock music in about 2002/3. I didn’t hear my first Deftones song for quite a while after this, and I think it must have been My Own Summer (Shove It). I saw them live at Download 2006 and frankly, I didn’t enjoy it – I thought it was boring (I didn’t know most of the songs). They came to Portsmouth in 2007 and I wasn’t going to go. They had to cancel the gig so it wasn’t an issue. They rearranged it I think for the next month and I was given a free ticket by someone who couldn’t go, so I went. I enjoyed some of the night, but I found myself with familiar feelings of boredom. I haven’t paid much attention to them since then and this blog will be the first time I have listened to most of their albums in full.

ADRENALINE (1995) – I honestly don’t know if I’ve listened to this album all the way through or not before this writing. Looking at the tracklisting, there are a few songs I am familiar with, or at least I think I am, but not sure. The one that stands out is 7 Words – I know that is an ace song. The first six songs I liked but 7 Words is just head and shoulders above them. I wrote those words as the album was on. I have now finished the album and I have to say I really liked it. The last two tracks on this album lost me a bit if I’m honest, but overall I would say I like this album.
Album MVP – 7 Words
Also Recommended – Minus Blindfold, Engine No. 9.

AROUND THE FUR (1997) – Oh my word it has been a long time since I’ve listened to My Own Summer (Shove It). Without doubt, it is my favourite Deftones song. Around The Fur, I think it is fair to say, is a much heavier album than Adrenaline. I have to say I enjoyed this album much more than Adrenaline. The track Lotion made me wonder if I had accidentally put on a Cancer Bats song at one point when Chino is screaming in the chorus. For the record, I didn’t. Headup is too long I think – I lost concentration during that. Also, hidden tracks, what is the point? (I guess this album was released before you knew the last track was 37 mins long – but still). The proper hidden track on this album, Damone, is excellent. I don’t get why it isn’t on the album proper.
Album MVP – My Own Summer (Shove It)
Also Recommended – Around The Fur, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Lhabia.

WHITE PONY (2001) – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this album and from early doors, I can see why. I didn’t really get into RX Queen. I didn’t know about Teenager – it is probably the softest Deftones had been on record at this point in time – decent song though. I did struggle with Knife Prty – it just didn’t keep my attention. Passenger got my attention though. I was thinking “that sounds so much like Maynard James Keenan from Tool singing” and it turns out it was. Had you asked me before this listen if I liked their song Change (In The House of Flies) I probably would have said yes. Listening now though, I found it a real chore to get through. Same with Pink Maggit if I’m honest. I thought the album was alright but is certainly my least favourite of the 3 I’ve listened to so far.
Album MVP - Elite
Also Recommended – Passenger, Korea.

DEFTONES (2003) – I don’t recognise any of these song titles so this could be interesting. At about the half way mark of this album, nothing had really grabbed me. I enjoyed Hexagram and Needles and Pins, but I didn’t like them as much or more than any of the other material I had liked from previous albums. I do like When Girls Telephone Boys – that’s a good song. The two songs that followed, Battle-axe and Lucky You I found hard to listen to. They were a slog. Bloody Cape grabbed my attention but then, just like with White Pony, the last two songs lost me again. A definite mixed bag of an album if ever I’ve heard one.
Album MVP – When Girls Telephone Boys
Also Recommended – Hexagram, Needles and Pins.

SATURDAY NIGHT WRIST (2006) – This was the album that was being toured around the time I saw them live in Portsmouth. This album made up about ¼ of the set. The interesting difference between the two sets I’ve seen is that at Download, the album hadn’t been released so they only played one song from this record, but there was a lot more from the self-titled album which as I said above, I thought was a mixed bag. This album has a strong start with Hole In The Earth and Rapture. It started to lose me a bit with Beware and Cherry Waves – I don’t dislike the songs but they lost my attention a few times. I liked hearing Serj Tankian on Mein – that was a good song. Speaking of good songs, Rats!Rats!Rats! – I really dug that. There has been a slight break in the usual pattern as I like the second to last song on the album! The last song did nothing for me though. I enjoyed this album a lot more than I thought I would, considering it was the one being toured when I last saw them live. As a side note, I listened to a version of the album with their cover of Drive on the end of it – pretty good cover that.
Album MVP – Rats!Rats!Rats!
Also Recommended – Hole In The Earth, Rapture, Kimdracula.

DIAMOND EYES (2010) – The title track is one of the songs I recall hearing every day for a while on Team Rock Radio. I never used to care for it but on this revisit, I quite like it. Royal is also a decent song but it was CMND/CTRL that really grabbed my attention. After grabbing my attention, they lost me for the next three tracks. I didn’t mind You’ve Seen the Butcher but the other two I didn’t get into. Rocket Skates got me back though – very good song. Sextape and Risk were also good. Had it not been for the section earlier in the album where it lost me, this could easily have been my favourite Deftones album. 976-EVIL was alright but I found myself losing interest during This Place Is Death. There are without doubt some decent tracks on this album but there were definite pockets where it was losing me.
Also Recommended – Diamond Eyes, Royal, Rocket Skates.

KOI NO YOKAN (2012) – Right out of the gate, I dug Swerve City. The next 3 songs I enjoyed as well.  I then experienced another lull. Songs 5-7 aren’t bad songs by any means but they did little to keep my attention. Gauze got my attention back somewhat. I liked Rosemary and I thought that Goon Squad was alright though it did start to feel like a chore listening to it as it went on. I liked the last song! That might be the first time that has happened!
Album MVP – Swerve City
Also Recommended – Romantic Dreams, Gauze.

GORE (2016) – This album gets off to a slow start as far as I’m concerned. The first two songs did very little for me. The third song did more for me but had it ended around the 3-minute mark, I would have thought it was so much better than it actually was. Geometric Headdress was alright but when it was over and Spotify started playing an advert, it had occurred to me that I tuned out towards the end of it. Pittura Infamante is a decent song, as is Xenon. The last four songs on the album did nothing for me. This is my least favourite of all of the band’s albums.
Album MVP – Pittura Infamante
Also Recommended – Xenon, Geometric Headdress.

CONCLUSION – Am I now a fan of Deftones? Well, no not really. Do I have a greater appreciation for their back catalogue? Definitely. They have a decent number of good songs in my opinion. I found myself wondering if my enjoyment of their live sets would have been different had I done more research of their back catalogue? Or was it that they just weren’t that good live back when I saw them? Hard to say without a time machine. This revisiting session on a band who I previously had written off has been interesting as a week ago, if asked, I probably would have just said Deftones were rubbish. I can’t say that with any conviction now as it isn’t true. There were parts of this revisit where it was a real slog to get through the material, but in doing so, I discovered some great songs and rediscovered ones I already loved but hadn’t listened to for years.

The next band I will be revisiting is one I used to love but have gone off in recent times – Devildriver. 

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