Retro Roundtable Review: Adrenaline by Deftones

Adrenaline-Cover-300x300Label: Maverick

Release Date: October 1995

Songs: 11

Length: 48 minutes

Genre: Nu Metal

Studio Albums: This was their first of seven studio albums

Location: USA

WarpRider – Deftones made my list of overrated bands. I believe White Pony was my first taste of the band and at the time I appreciated them a little bit. It was different. After that, I realized the vocal style irritated me to no end and I stopped listening all together. With Adrenaline being an older album, it seems more aggressive than I remember Deftones to be. It doesn’t make me like them or want to explore them again, but in the mid-90s when thrash and most other forms of metal were being pushed underground (in America), I can see where Deftones would have more marketable appeal. It was new (Nu Metal) and was nice and angry like all that Grunge stuff that was going on at the time. I normally appreciate contrasting vocals, but with Deftones it is whispery and I find it irritating. For the brief time I saw them at a festival it didn’t come off well in a live setting. But, that’s just me and with Deftones, I think my opinion is far from the center of the spectrum.


Atleastimhousebroken – When this record was first released, I was floored as it was something totally different than anything else I’d heard at the time (and this was when the Nu-Metal scene was in full effect).  Even compared to their contemporaries Korn, Limp Biscuit, Incubus, etc., Deftones felt in a league of their own.  Yes, they had moments of hip hop, lack of solos, and Adidas clothing, but things just felt more… intelligent.  Lyrics weren’t there to express angsty teenage stuff, but within their nonsensical poetry, they were used to create uncomfortable moods and to intrigue.  Grooves led way to that ‘easy to listen to’ style of nu-metal, but contrasted with calm and cool, the outburst of aggression felt more real.  And Chino Moreno’s unique, whispery vocal style was and still is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, especially that cat in heat scream thing he does.

In time, Deftones refined their sound and took on a more post-metal attitude, and I love their modern styleings, but damn, nothing in their catalog could match the portrait of the time period as well as Adrenaline had.


Irmelinis – This one, together with “Around The Fur“, belong to what I like to call the in-your-face-era of Deftones; they are both full of unpolished attitude and energetic I-don’t-give-a-fuck. Chino’s characteristic mumbling, moaning, whispering and sensitively screaming voice can make most songs sound great and here his smooth singing is a nice contrast to the raw, haunting music. Every track is so intense and aggressive, while always keeping an aura of sophisticated energy. It’s music full of potential from a band that would only get better and better.


ChristopherMammal – I listened to as much of the album as I could before the vocals became too unappetizing to stomach. My neural structure is wired completely out of harmony with most nu metal, alt metal, grunge and the like. I must have been born at the wrong time – too old to identify with this type of music and too young not to think every other evolving type of metal was better. I take total responsibility for not liking any of the songs I heard on Adrenaline. Usually I would find someone to blame, but Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten didn’t stay in the room long enough for me to scold him for not selecting a different band.



About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on June 30, 2014, in Roundtable Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I own only “White Pony” and “Deftones” and I gave them multiple rounds in my player and if it’s because “White Pony” is considered a classic and the band has gained a lot of respect by so many. I never fell in love with their sound, but I like it. Maybe I just didn’t get enough in-depth with their sound, but my problem is that there isn’t actually much that stuck in my brain. For example I would consider “Digital Bath” an outstanding song, because I could instantly identify it, while I had the impression that a row of the other songs all follow kind of the same way of composition. On the other hand, in a certain mood, I like the overall atmosphere of their music.
    Maybe I should check out “Adrenaline” as well.

  2. My first – and only enduring – encounter with Deftones was their contribution to a compilation album, For The Masses: comprising various covers of Depeche Mode songs. For me, their take on To Have And To Hold epitomises what makes a great cover version. It retains the sense of the original whilst making it utterly the (cover) artist’s own. I bought Adrenaline on the strength of that but for some reason never really got into it. Didn’t dislike it, but it never worked its way into my soul either. Hey ho.

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