Friday, November 10, 2017

Deftones Self-Titled (2003) Review

Deftones "Self-Titled" (2003) LP Cover 
A few years after “White Pony” came out, the band recorded an interesting record that they didn’t leave titled. They simply left it blank, or rather self-titled for this go round. In reviewing this record, I had to go back to where I was in 2003. I was starting my first year of college at The Art Institute of California, and I was still digging “White Pony” a lot. I was also getting into a lot more music, as I had nothing better to do than obsess over tracks and things along those lines. Since I didn’t have a dating life, I would fixate on lyrical elements, musical performance and much more. It’s there that I first started to hear singles from Deftones “Self-Titled”. The first single I heard was “Minerva”, and it would later be featured in the opening of the movie “House of Wax”, which was very good if you ask me.

Seven Strings To Shoegaze Metallic Experiments


When you listen to this record you’re going to be surprised by how well it all flows. It’s a chaotic mess at first listen, but if you listen to the whole record, not just the singles, you will start to see that there’s a cohesion to the 47 minutes of music that Terry Date and Deftones produced. You get a bit of a heavier mix up front, but then it leads to a much more melodic and poignant relationship with the first single, “Minerva”, which is one of the catchiest songs Deftones has ever penned. From what I know, the band used 7-string guitars and dropped G tuning for this record and while you may not tell from listening to it, musicians will know that the sound is not achieved without modifying the tuning of the guitars.

I’m not sure if the bass guitar needs to be drop tuned, but maybe it was. There’s also synth sounds, keyboards, and turntables that are sewn throughout the record, making this a very “eclectic” sounding record. At times, you really get a feel for what Deftones are emulating, which some may think goes more towards a “Nu Metal” sound, especially with “Bloody Cape”, and “Hexagram”. However, I’d liken some of the guitar work closer to Starflyer 59’s “Golden” record. Some critics considered this a very much shoe gaze record, and at times it definitely does sound that way.

Heavier Up Front, Lower Throughout


The tracks are a mix of hard and soft, with a lot of the guitar work getting a lot of textured placement. You’ll hear that signature sound that the band has created, but honestly, some of the guitars sound a lot like what Smashing Pumpkins was doing on “Siamese Dream”, which isn’t bad, it’s just something that you’re going to note through their music. I like that, as the guitar work leaves you wondering how they managed to play things so melodic with Chino’s vocals.

A Shocking Success


I do not know why, but Deftones “Self-Titled” received a seriously high chart the first week out. In fact, it was the number 2 record on the Billboard 200 Charts for the week it was released. It sold more than half a million copies, and over 167,000 the first week. I did not buy this record in the first week, and honestly, didn’t even stop playing “White Pony” for a long time. However, over time, I had to pick this record up because the singles were getting put into a lot of different soundtracks, including horror movies. The music video for “Minerva” also garnered a lot of attention, so I couldn’t resist getting the record over time. The success of this record seems to have garnered the band a bigger following than the past, even though I think that their previous efforts were more cohesive and interesting to a fault. The success of this record would no doubt give them a big push forward in their career, although they were already breaking the “nu metal” stereotype by this point.

A Trippy Experience


While there was a lot of heavy sounding songs on this record, including some of the heavier features from Deftones like “Bloody Cape”, and “When Girls Telephone Boys”, I found that the trip hop features and slower melodies to be just as moody and intriguing. Much like their previous works, there’s a mix of heavy and soft that really does work well with Chino’s vocals. Nothing is wasted on this record, as you get a full work of different artistic sounds, tones, and moods. It’s a moody record, with a lot of upside.

I give Deftones “Self-Titled” a 4 out of 5.


This record has a lot to offer, and if you’re a fan of the band, you’ll definitely enjoy the eclectic mix of structured sounds that comes through with this solution overall.

You can purchase Deftones “Self-Titled” from 2003 on vinyl, stream it online, or even download the mp3 files by clicking here and saving a few bucks.


Did you like Deftones “Self-Titled”? Fan of Deftones? Drop me a line and let me know.

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