A lot of folks are counting on Deftones to revive rock's moribund metal flank. And with its third album (due in stores Tuesday), the Sacramento quintet just might pull it off. Deftones can get as loud as the next headbangers, but they also have a healthy populist streak, leavening their power-chord mushroom clouds with swatches of vocal harmony and tender melody. No surprise, then, to find singer Chino Moreno citing both Bad Brains and PJ Harvey as influences.
Granted, Deftones are not without their high-Gothic tendencies. On such tracks as "RX Queen" and "Feiticeira," Moreno's vocals are cloaked in a death shroud while the band furiously grinds away like an industrial flywheel. But they also make strange juxtapositions work. On "Teenager," Frank Delgado's turntable scratches weave through Stephen Carpenter's acoustic guitar dirge as Moreno ponders the fleeting nature of youth.
"Pink Maggit" is the obligatory album-closing epic, with its creepy, processional guitar and wall-of-sound grandeur (is it perhaps an homage of sorts to Funkadelic's acid-stoked guitar freak-out "Maggot Brain"?). But Moreno's tale of high school angst packs the twitchy self-absorption of indie rock.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.