Deftones are truly perfecting their command of unsuspecting moody whispers that somehow transfer into such tormented scraping screams and crushing walls of guitar, the formula seems unworkable. Yet as the band progresses from a sound so distinct, the Deftones have evolved into an entity of singularity that other bands will be charged of ripping of their sound.
While the heart of their sound is still intact (razor guitars and vocals that can both emote softly as well as scar with some volume and a penchant for being melodically enraged) the band has pushed the edges of their range out enough to realize they are moving forward. “Elite” wraps itself around a slightly off timed electric dub percussion tip and teasing bass line with a warm effect on it before the caress of the big slow chorus wanders in (and in Deftones signature, etch out the vocals with some static laced distortion so even the whispers sound abrasive).
Then comes the uncharacteristic “Teenager” which mostly amounts to singer Chino gives his best breathy soft voice atop a very minimal and trance feel of the rhythm and small effects. It’s a different side but is a most creative endeavor. “Knife Party” swims along with the same passion of their single, “be quiet and drive (far away)” from previous album, “Around the Fur”. Some banshee screaming effects in the breakdown create a dramatic background and this is Deftones at their melodic best.
And for a great eye opener, Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) lends his commanding presence to “Passenger” making this track shine among some already blinding lights.