Deftones - Around the Fur (1997), 6/10

A quite extreme maturation after Adrenaline, Around the Fur bottles the raw power of the band and its strengths without falling prey to some of the played-out ideas they would utilize later in their career. There aren’t many weak points during this hard-hitting metal album, “Lhabia” and “Head Up” being the least ambitious and least interesting among the list but remain in the minority. The album also has a much better flow than many of their later releases, rivaling their best. The staying power resides in its individual songs such as "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" alone serving as a fan maker, and it's surrounded by heavy hitting metal songs like the title track and “Dai the Flu”. It is certainly a head banger of an album and probably Deftones' most intense recording, yet still constrained by its nu metal foundation at times. Just beware of "MX", outside of the vinyl release, and its twenty-seven minutes of silence scattered through the track; it confused the hell out of me the first time I let it play out. As with most accessible metal, it relies on a number of powerful riffs and raw, powerful vocals, but they are some of the best you can find and result in an album that stands apart for its alternating harmony and potent dissonance, something Deftones would continue to experiment and eventually perfect over the years. It certainly has an unmistakable nineties sound, but still a surprisingly effective and timeless approach to songwriting. One of the few longstanding, quality albums from this era of nu metal.