This double-disc release – one CD, one DVD – could not have been better timed: Deftones have been quiet throughout 2005, their raucous racket silenced in the wake of front man Chino Moreno’s Team Sleep project, but there’s a new studio record on the horizon, and Christmas stockings to fill. If that makes B-Sides and Rarities sound like a stop-gap buck-spinner, then good: it’s precisely that.
The California five-piece have rarely strayed from the their quality path across four records, and many of these flipsides and forgotten covers are a testament to that: ‘Black Moon’ can’t be tarred even by the presence of whining rapper B Real, such is its compositional strength, and ‘Crenshaw Punch’ packs just that with aggression to spare. Categorically ignored by many due to their connections with the murky world of nu-metal, Deftones’ ability to squeeze soul from simple riffs and bone-shattering breakdowns is absolutely commendable, so much so that such a release as this can’t be frowned upon with much severity. They deserve the extra dollars. Granted, the obligatory acoustic versions – ‘Be Quiet And Drive’, ‘Digital Bath’ and ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’ – are fairly supplementary in the grand scheme of things, but pass by the listener pleasantly enough.
The key selling point of this compilation, the DVD aside, is the covers: super-charged takes on The Cocteau Twins’ ‘Wax And Wane’ and Duran Duran’s ‘The Chauffeur’ are notable additions to anyone’s Deftones collection, but it’s their affectingly chilling take on Sade’s ‘No Ordinary Love’ that truly arrests. Although many of his performances are of a lung-puncturing, louder-than-bombs variety, just occasionally Moreno can hold a tune to wonderfully emotive effect. This is such a case in point: it'll make even the toughest meathead shed a little tear.
The DVD collects the band’s videos to date, and few are visually striking. That said, there’s pleasure to be had monitoring the ever-changing Moreno waistline, as he shifts from stick-thin and dreadlocked to portly and hair-gelled within an hour. ‘My Own Summer’ is still a great contemporary metal single, although the shark-infested video is horrendously dated, and the grand scale of ‘Minerva’ suits the song perfectly. The MTV hit, ‘Back To School (Mini Maggit)’ is catchier than colds in old folks’ homes, but, again, the video already seems out of touch and overly simple. Such gripes, though, are minor, as this is but the cherry on the cake, the cake in question being next year’s fifth album proper. These ears, at least, possess an already whetted appetite.
6Mike Diver's Score