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B-Sides & Rarities (Maverick)

The Deftones have frequently camouflaged their art-rock ambitions behind a superficial loyalty to nü-metal. B-Sides & Rarities pairs a DVD of all the band's videos with a compilation of cover tunes and alternate versions of singles, revealing the true scope of their artistic achievements in the process.

On this gift to fans, the Deftones leave their stamp on tracks by Jawbox, Cocteau Twins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Smiths, and others without a single misstep along the way. Vocalist Chino Moreno is adept enough to bark malevolently (on Helmet's "Sinatra") or croon androgynously (on Sade's "No Ordinary Love") with equal conviction. Similarly, the band members' mastery of their own heavy yet evanescent sound allows them to transform and possess these songs they so clearly love. The Deftones are never impersonators or a tribute band; they're showcasing the aspects of Duran Duran or Sade that they believe they share with those artists, whether anybody has ever noticed or not.

The DVD is also excellent. A few of the band's videos, most notably "My Own Summer (Shove It)," "Digital Bath," and "Minerva," have a kind of beauty amid unnerving tension that emphasizes the artistic distance between this bunch and nominal peers like Linkin Park.

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More by Phil Freeman

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