Adrenaline (album)

Adrenaline is the debut studio album by American alternative metal band Deftones, released on October 3, 1995 by Maverick Records. The majority of the album was produced by Terry Date, while a hidden track titled "Fist" was produced by Ross Robinson.[1]

Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 3, 1995
StudioBad Animals Studios, Seattle, Washington
Deftones chronology
Around the Fur
Singles from Adrenaline
  1. "7 Words"
    Released: December 17, 1995
  2. "Bored"
    Released: April 4, 1996


Regarding the recording, drummer Abe Cunningham said, "At the time we did the first record – which I really like and think is good – you can tell the band was really young. We'd been playing most of those songs for quite a while, and we were just so happy to be making a record that we didn't really think a whole lot about making the songs better".[2] Frontman Chino Moreno felt that Adrenaline was recorded "really fast",[3] and he performed all his vocals live with the band in the room using a hand-held Shure SM58 microphone.[4]


"7 Words" was released as the first single from the album on December 17, 1995.[5] It was followed by "Bored", issued as the second single on April 4, 1996.[6] Music videos were released for "7 Words", "Bored", "Root" and fan favorite "Engine No. 9"; the latter song was also featured in the film Law Abiding Citizen.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Drowned in Sound8/10[9]
Los Angeles Times[10]

Adrenaline was praised for its new, innovative sound, with critics initially comparing it to a diverse range of acts such as Helmet, Nine Inch Nails, the Cure, Korn, Pantera, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and the Smashing Pumpkins.[11] In 1995, Jon Wiederhorn of Pulse stated that "Adrenaline 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".[11] Critic Katherine Turman wrote in January 1996, "If this is what heavy metal is evolving into, it's a damn good thing".[11]

Giving the album 3 out of 4 stars in her 1996 review, Los Angeles Times critic Sandy Masuo praised the album's nuance and blend of musical extremes and various influences: "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".[11] In his 1996 review, Tomas Pascual of Livewire magazine similarly noted the album's subtle yet diverse musical influences and the juxtaposition of loud and heavy with soft and melodic: "There are many bands these days that lay claim to a diverse section of influences. But no one band is as subtly boisterous about their eclectic mix as are Deftones. [...] 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 contagious".[11]

Retrospective reviews

In a retrospective AllMusic review of the album, Daniel Gioffre wrote, "Unlike many of their contemporaries, Deftones are very controlled even in the midst of chaos", adding, "Throw Abe Cunningham's surprisingly sophisticated drumming into the mix, and you have a band that possesses a far greater degree of nuance than most others that work in the genre".[8] While he noted that "there is a bit of sameness in Chino Moreno's whispered vocal melodies, which drags the record down a bit", Gioffre ultimately states that "[o]n later albums, the band's progressive tendencies become more developed, but the more straight-ahead material on Adrenaline does not disappoint. A promising debut."[8] In the book The Rough Guide to Heavy Metal, author Essi Berelian wrote that the album "still stands as one of the best examples of nu-metal".[12][13][9] Writing for MetalSucks in June 2009, Carlos Ramirez noted that the wide range of musical influences in both Adrenaline and Around the Fur helped to establish the band in the underground music scene prior to their larger commercial breakthrough with third album White Pony: "[Deftones'] first two albums, Adrenaline (1995) and Around the Fur (1997), were both chock full of bombastic guitars, new wave kissed vocal lines, and post-hardcore informed arrangements and their wide-scoped sound helped the Sacramento, CA band find audiences in various facets of the underground music scene".[14] In critic Tim Karan's 20th anniversary assessment for Diffuser, he wrote: "For those who were swept up in the burgeoning nu-metal movement, 'Adrenaline' was a landmark, life-changing release. But Deftones never really were a true nu-metal band -- this album is more like hardcore-influenced post-hardcore than 'Nookie' -- and it only scratched at the surface of the experimental metal Deftones would soon step into".[15]

Commercial performance

While the album was initially unsuccessful, extensive touring and word-of-mouth promotion built the band a dedicated fanbase and helped Adrenaline to sell over 220,000 copies.[16] When asked what he attributed the album's success to, bassist Chi Cheng responded, "One word: perseverance. We've been together for almost eight years, on the road for two and we do it with honesty and integrity – and the kids can tell".[17] The album was certified gold by the RIAA on July 7, 1999, in recognition of 500,000 units sold. It was eventually certified platinum on September 23, 2008, in recognition of 1,000,000 units sold.[18]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Deftones.

2."Minus Blindfold"4:04
3."One Weak"4:29
7."7 Words"3:43
9."Engine No. 9"3:24
11."Fist" (hidden track)3:36
Total length:47:05


  • "Fist" is currently misspelled "First" on several digital editions, as well as Japanese copies.[19] On Rhapsody, it is oddly titled "Opus 11".


Credits taken from the CD liner notes.




Year Chart Peak
1996 Top Heatseekers[20] 23
2000 Catalog Albums Chart[21] 46


Country Certification
United Kingdom[22] Gold
United States[18] Platinum


  1. "Deftones Adrenaline review". Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  2. Peiken, Matt. Interview with Abe Cunningham, Modern Drummer, 1997.
  3. Bromley, Adrian. Keeping It Simple, Chart, July, 1998.
  4. Walkling, Dennis. Chillin' with Chino: Deftones get Moody, Circus, June 1998.
  5. 7 Words (track listing). Deftones. Maverick Records. 1995.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. Bored (track listing). Deftones. Maverick Records. 1995. PRO-CD-8037.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. AllMusic Review
  9. Weston, Colin (January 13, 2001). "Deftones- Adrenaline". Drowned In Sound. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  10. Masuo, Sandy (January 20, 1996). "The Deftones – Adrenaline". Los Angeles Times.
  12. Berelian 2005, p. 95.
  13. DeVille, Chris. "Adrenaline Turns 20". Stereogum. (October 2nd, 2015). Retrieved on October 8th, 2015
  14. Ramirez, Carlos. "#11: DEFTONES – WHITE PONY". Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  15. Karan, Tim. "Deftones, 'Adrenaline'". Diffuser. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  16. Prato, Greg. "Deftones biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  17. Deftones [interview], Guitar World Online – Guitar School, 1997.
  18. "RIAA certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  20. "Adrenaline – Deftones". AllMusic.
  21. "Adrenaline – Deftones". Billboard.
  22. "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11.


  • Berelian, Essi (2005). The Rough Guide to Heavy Metal. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781843534150.
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