Around The Fur


Maverick / Warner Brothers Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Somewhere, on the line that separates alternative rock from shock rock, there is a middle ground of intense, angry alternative that shocks your eardrums into submission. There aren't many bands who would fit a category like this, but when you hear one of them, there's no questioning they belong in that zone.

Chalk up the Deftones as one of these bands - after listening to their sophomore release Around The Fur, I found myself wondering if this was the same band a crowd tried to boo off a Chicago stage when they opened for Kiss in 1996. Lead singer/ranter Chino Moreno and crew are back with a more mature, even more angry set of songs that will win over even the toughest of critics.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Led by the success of the track "My Own Summer (Shove It)," Moreno and crew bash through ten tracks (as well as the hidden eleventh - why do bands insist on filling half an hour with dead air just for a bonus track... stop it, stop it, STOP IT!!! ), conveying all the angst and emotion as their debut release Adrenaline with a more thoughtful approach to the music. Anyone can create crunching chords, but it takes skill to weave them into a song you can tap your foot or slam your head to.

Guitarist Stephen Carpenter provides those crunchy riffs, and makes each one that blares on the eardrums that much more enjoyable. Bassist Chi Cheng and drummer Abe Cunningham are equally as important to this band as Moreno and Carpenter; each one adds just the right amount of spice to make the music work as well as it does.

And it's not all just distorted lyrics and shouting on Around The Fur. "Mascara" is a more gentle performance featuring Moreno's singing, as is "MX" (which also features Max Cavalera, formerly of Sepultura, on guitar and vocals). These two songs alone should put to rest any preconceived notions about the band, despite what you might see from them on MTV.

Whether it's the ferocity of the title track, the sheer power that comes across on "Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)" or adding a bit of harmonics into the panic on "Dai The Flu," The Deftones are out to prove that they're a force to be reckoned with on Around The Fur... you won't hear me argue otherwise anymore.

It might take some time to warm up to an album like this, but especially if you got sucked into the video for "My Own Summer (Shove It)," you'll realize it doesn't take long for it to grab hold of you. If you still have any hesitations, you might wish to think of the Deftones as a more intense Faith No More, without the keyboards, like from their Angel Dust days.

Around The Fur is the album that should secure The Deftones' place in the musical spectrum, as well as win them a whole new legion of fans. Something tells me that when they come through Chicago again, the only sounds they'll hear is cheering from the audience.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Maverick / Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.