90’s Score – 7.1/10
2020 Score – 9.1/10
The end of year has come and gone, and long did I toil over my yearly top ten. Through this unnecessarily arduous endeavor (which was only the case because I tend to make everything obscenely hard on myself), many conversations of the incomparable Deftones came to pass. You might be thinking this is because I couldn’t figure out where to place their latest effort Ohms in my overpacked pile of sad and unlikeable bullshit, but that is where you would be wrong. Sadly, this latest effort didn’t sit with little ol’ me in the fucking slightest. Before you break out the pitchforks, you should blame Loathe for putting out a better Deftones record in I Let It In And It Took Everything, which of course is my opinion, and as usual, I’ll fucking fight you for it. This dreary conversation happened over and over in my head (where the rest of my conversations always happen, as you can imagine), “Oh how I wish their latest record sounded more this and that, and went here and there” I would proclaim into the void as I have no actual friends that would listen to my rambling. Fast forward to today, as I realize the thing that all loudmouth cunts like myself tend to forget; why bitch and moan about the new thing not sounding the way you like when you can listen to the old thing that you already know you love. That and this just seemed like a smooth intro, so fuck it, I’m going with it. Behold in all it’s fantasm and lore; Around the Fur of 1997
Oh how it used to be indeed. Around the Fur is a midway point for Deftones fans of all shapes, sizes, tenures, and tendencies for unbridled fucking violence. In a time where Nu Metal was the latest in tough-guy aesthetics, Deftones stood in the back of the room telling all of you in your fucking JNCO jeans to fuck yourself and then punted a baby across a football field, figuratively speaking. Really, if there was ever an act to show self loathing towards one’s most closely relative scene, Deftones were the band to do it on multiple occasions, which is likely why Around The Fur is the absolute opioid-induced massacre that it was then and still is now comparatively speaking. Raw engineering quality considering its freshly lain groundwork for the times, nonsensical song structuring and emotional translations, ambiance like you truly don’t know what the punch was spiked with, and fucking ferocity are just some of the flavors sampled here. Sweet, glorious ferocity, from both the most unassuming of voices and inflections, and riffs so hard they make the earth go ROUND (because despite certain unnamed opinions, THE EARTH IS STILL IN FACT FUCKING ROUND).
So many truly iconic songs inhabit this meek seventy-three minute and fifty-six second tome of love, hate, and unnecessary silences! Opening track “My Own Summer (Shove It)” alone made a statement right from the first crack that is somehow still making its point twenty three years later. From here, if I haven’t described it enough, the only breaks from the onslaught come in the form of “Mascara” and a few weird moments in “Dai the Flu.” Pick a track and it’ll pick you apart but since I’m the one talking in your head; “Around the Fur” is a master class in groove, “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” is still the bridging point to get your friends into this band, and both “Rickets” and “Headup” (featuring in Max Fucking Cavalera a.k.a “Sure, I’ll feature on your song”) are guaranteed bleeders whether you’re listening to this alone in your personal dwelling or a venue full of potential serial killers. No I can’t go through every song, but I can tell you the only thing that irks me about this record is “MX” because once again FUCK YOUR LITTLE SILENCES JUST GIVE ME THE HIDDEN TRACKS AND BE ON YOUR WAY.
Now on a more personal note, this isn’t even really “my” Deftones record. I was seven years old when this came out and still happily sucking on Bruce Springsteen’s teet, completely oblivious to the Sacramento quintet’s existence. Would I have loved it then? Probably not, but I also hadn’t fully discovered what a boner did yet and honestly, this would have been the album to do it. There are moments on this record that still now, at the respectable age of thirty one, do things to my loins. This act is the definition of kinky fucking sounds for perverse people while not even remotely being intentional in most cases. This record, like many others from these cats (both pre and post passing of the beloved Chi Cheng), is absolutely untouched by time and surpasses grumpy standpoints against fellow members of their forced upon associated scene or more recently political/scientific peculiarities. This record still unquestionably fucks. So the Deftones today may not make music today like they did in the fucking ’90s but lucky for us, music is timeless bitch.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*Edited by Dominic Abate