“Deftones.com” – 1996 // Critical Soundbites

“On the outside, Sacramento’s DEFTONES are all pummeling rhythms and high anxiety, but delving
further into the music turns up some surprising nuances: traces of post-punk pop, tinges of rap,
a pinch of industrial grit. Chino Moreno rants, sobs, croons and even works some Middle Eastern
overtones into his vocals, while Stephen Carpenter’s guitar shifts from coarse outbursts to
crisp Helmet-ine precision. A bracing blend of extremes.”

–Sandy Masuo,
Los Angeles Times, January 1996
(three-out-of-four star review)

“Influenced equally by Helmet, Pantera and Smashing Pumpkins, the band is a ferocious contrast
of harmony and discord. Their debut album, ADRENALINE (Maverick, ****), pitches between
gloom-saturated melodies and explosive riffs, lashing out like a sleep-deprived paranoiac
awakened by noisy neighbors. The rhythms are crisp and crafty and the vocals resonate both fury
and sensitivity in a way that’s similar to, but far more blatantly metallic than Nirvana.”
–Jon Wiederhorn,
Pulse, December 1995

“For those who prefer their rock on the foul-mouthed side, the DEFTONES deliver. The band’s
solid style crosses the rawness of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the cheeky vocal of British
poppers EMF.”
–Larry Flick,
Billboard, January 1995

“An abrasive mix of tortured screaming and edgy guitars that are set up with lulling passages
not unlike the calm before the storm.”
–Paul Semel,
Bikini, March 1996

“Though Moreno can bellow and howl with all the anxiety and anger of a Trent Reznor or Kurt
Cobain, he is also capable of a distinct melodic lilt that’s reminiscent of Robert Smith. All
in all, the 11 tracks are adrenaline.”
–Sandy Masuo,
RIP, December 1995

“Flesh-peeling, tuned-down riffs form the backdrop for vocals that range from cryptic whispers
to bone-chilling screams.”
–Don Kaye,
Request, November 1995

“The aptly titled ADRENALINE (Maverick), (guitarist Stephen) Carpenter and his band lay down
the law with undeniable authority. A hyper-dynamic collection of angst-ridden sonic booms, the
album is a 40-minute primal scream, built on Carpenter’s percussive riffing, judiciously applied
bursts of dissonance, and delicate, if creepy, open chord patterns.”
–Tim Kenneally,
Guitar School, April 1996

“Sledgehammer power chords, swirling textures, and relentless riffs.”
–Chris Gill/James Rotondi,
Guitar Player, March 1996

“The Sacramento, California band shifts deftly between nerve-shredding hysteria and subdued
calm–yet they manage to sustain their intensity throughout by using tons of tension and
sinister atmospheres. (Chi) Cheng’s insistent 16th-note ostinatos highlight the quieter moments
of songs like ‘Minus Blindfold,’ and he’s adept at navigating the band’s frequent shifts in feel
and tempo.”
–Karl Coryat,
Bass Player, April 1996

“If this is what heavy metal is evolving into, it’s a damn good thing. The DEFTONES’ powerful
debut is full of aggro riffing, low-end rhythms, and heavy guitars coupled with genuine
melodies…Categories aside, DEFTONES have undoubtedly produced one of the better, ‘heavy music’
debuts to pulverize the world in a while.”
–Katherine Turman,
Car Audio, January 1996

“There are many bands these days that lay claim to a diverse section of influences. But no one
band is as subtly boisterous to about their eclectic mix as are DEFTONES. Blending together
everything from funk to metal, rap and hardcore, DEFTONES’ coalesce these different energies
into one coherent electrical stream of sound. DEFTONES’ course is piloted by vocalist and
frontman Chino Moreno, who expresses his smooth, melodic lyrics emotionally one minute before
giving way to abrasive, maddened screams the next. Backed by the serene and apocalyptic guitar
of Stephen Carpenter, this Yin-Yang formula keeps DEFTONES’ debut ADRENALINE progressively
–Tomas Pascual,
LiveWire, June/July 1996

“ADRENALINE is one of the year’s most jarring and intense releases, mixing (Stephen) Carpenter’s
corrosive riffage with the seething rhythms of Chi Cheng and Abe Cunningham–topped off by the
cryptic, cathartic wail of Chino Moreno. Picture Korn duking it out with Pantera and you’ve got
DEFTONES in a nutshell.”
–Peter Atkinson,
F (Foundations), November 1995

“It whispers. It cries. It roars. It sighs, screams, bleeds and it buzzes. Loud. It can’t be
ignored. Once it’s in your ear it’s in your face. It’s about a rush of ADRENALINE. Of sonic
berserkery, of crippling angst, of boredom channeled into something beautiful. It’s what it is.
And nothing more: DEFTONES, a band of skate kids who do it for fun, whether at a backyard
barbecue or a 20,000-seat arena. A band that not only attracts your attention, but demands it.”
–Sue Nolz,
Metal Maniacs, August 1996