Sound — 3
Amidst all the ass kissing love fans of the Deftones who think that everything they do is gold, there has to be one honest review from someone who is unbiased. This will be that review, and I'm sure I'll get flamed for almost every word of it. That said, the album is bland at best. Where once there was burning intensity and driven riffs that were pushed by Abe's hard hitting drums and Chi's undertow pull of bass playing, there are now jutting and unfitting rhythmic thrusts that mix badly with the rest of the content. The vocals, once used well, conveying a powerful mixture of heartfelt but confusing lyrics and gutteral screams, have degenerated into the same off-key wailing to be expected of emo bands. The only point that keeps the album from sinking completely is Stephen Carpenter's atmospheric and textural guitar work, which carries the album just above the abyss.
Lyrics — 1
The lyrics, honestly, take a back seat to the music, which at most times is boring. However boring it may be, though, it's definately more pleasing on the ears than the vocals are since the notes played by guitarist Stephen Carpenter and bassist Chi are on key. Chino has focused more on holding long notes and clean tones as opposed to what worked for his voice. While it's commendable to leave your comfort zone and try something new, it doesn't suit him well on this album or the last, as he struggles time and time again to reach the notes for which he's striving.
Overall Impression — 3
In short, this may be one of the worst Deftones albums available. Fans should save themselves the time and just buy a copy of Around the Fur or Adrenaline and call it a day. While White Pony was truly the last record where the Deftones sounded like the Deftones, this album provides a fresh look at Carpenter's abilities on the guitar, as he as well steps out of his safety zone and takes large new steps in creating a more atmospheric tone, e.g. Pink Floyd meets Deftones. Songs like "A Hole In The Earth" will save the album, seeing as they are the only few in which you can tell you're listening to the deftones instead of some Coldplay meets Deftones meets AFI matchup. All in all, I regret spending my money on the album. It was highly disappointing.